Who should you ask?

It may not be possible to survey every person who could provide a useful response to your questionnaire. In such cases, you will need to choose a sample from your population to survey. The population represents all the members of the group you are interested in, whilst the sample is the subset of the population selected to receive the questionnaire. The respondents are the subset of the sample that return completed questionnaires. You should make sure that your sample is representative of the population which you are studying. For example you may need to stratify the sample to cover different ages, genders, or socioeconomic groups.

Clear instructions

Maximise your response rate by providing clear information and instructions:

  • State who you are
  • Outline what the purpose of the survey is and why their response is important
  • Explain how answers will be treated with confidentiality and anonymity (unless agreed with the respondent)
  • Provide clear instructions as to how each question should be answered, for example, whether you are expecting one or more answers or whether answers should be ranked - and if so, is one high or low?
  • How to return the questionnaire and by what date