Layout

The appearance of your questionnaire will go a long way towards encouraging (or discouraging) responses. Always allow enough room for respondents to answer questions and provide plenty of white space between questions so the questionnaire doesn’t look too ‘busy’. Use clear headings and numbering if appropriate. Although it’s tempting to use smaller fonts in order to squeeze your questionnaire onto a smaller number of pages, don’t make it so small that it becomes illegible. You should use a minimum of 11point.

Piloting your questionnaire

Having created your questionnaire, it is important that you test it out on a small target group before you circulate it more widely. This will not only help you pick up any typographical errors, but highlight any ambiguity in the wording of your questions. You may also discover that in order to analyse the data in the way you want, you need some extra questions. Or you may find out that some questions are superfluous. Give your pilot group the same information that you intend to give your target population - and a deadline!

Ethical approval

Once you have settled on the design of your questionnaire. You may need to get approval to run it on patients or members of the public. You may need to make sure that it follows our code of ethics. Talk to your tutor who will be able to tell you which procedures to follow.