Dissertation Writing and Questionnaire for Quantitative Research: Ask Study Coach Blog

Do you need to generate quantitative data for your research project or dissertation? Study Coach is here to provide academic support to help you understand the usefulness of questionnaires to collect research data. If you plan to conduct a survey for a primary piece of research then you will rely on some form of questionnaire. There are two main types of questions that is worth discussing: closed questions or open questions. You could also design a questionnaire using a combination of both closed and open questions.  


Question: What is a Questionnaire?

Answer:  A questionnaire is based on pre-set questions, and the scope of the responses will be limited in view of the questions asked. Respondents are required to give yes or no answers or to choose between a mixed number of alternatives.

Question: Why do researchers use a Questionnaire survey?

Answer: A Questionnaire is known to be a fast, efficient and relatively inexpensive method for collecting data. A Questionnaire can be used with a large research sample, and this gives further reason for using a questionnaire survey. 

Question: Why use closed questions?

Answer: There are advantages of using closed questions, because they become easy to quantity and are suitable for statistical analysis. If the research sample is representative, it will be possible to generalise from the findings and if questions are standardised a questionnaire survey will be easy to replicate.  

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Question: Are there disadvantages in using closed questions?

Answer: Closed questions are known to limit the respondents choice and freedom of expression, so this is a disadvantage. 

Question: Why use Open Questions?

Answer: Open Questions will allow research participants to express themselves more fully in their own words. Open Questions are effective to help researchers find out respondents opinions and views of their own behaviour.

Question: What is the problem with using Open Questions? 

Answer: The criticism against Open Questions is that they can lead to too much subjectivity and lends itself to qualitative research, instead of quantitative research. Open questions are therefore more difficult to quantify.  

Question: Are there any problems with using a survey?

Answer: A main issue is that the response rate can be low, particularly if the researcher is using post to distribute the survey and to have the survey returned. Try to avoid return by post, electronic return is faster but this can create other issues. 

Reading for Doing Research/Dissertation: 

Reading books on doing research will help to reinforce ideas about research methodology, and why it is important to pay close attention to research concepts, to understand the importance of sampling, ethics and other research issues. Research methods advantages and disadvantages should feature in your own research. You should therefore consult with relevant sources to provide references to support statements made in regard to methodology. 

When reading consider issues such as: Participants’ rights, Question Order, Sampling, Piloting the Questionnaire, Distributing the Questionnaires. All methodological ideas should be appropriately referenced by referring to relevant literature on Research Methods. For example, if you are studying Psychology, then use Research Methods books in Psychology. You will find that Research Methods in Psychology differs to that of Nursing and other social science subjects. 

Do also consult with a good Study Skills book, to help you with issues such as planning and time management.  Take a look at sub-headings in books to identify content on how to plan a research proposal or write the dissertation. 


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