In statistical surveys, the questionnaire is the pipeline which enables the flow of desired data. Although questionnaire design is part of the operational phase of a survey, it is critical in terms of survey objectives. It is difficult to compensate at later stages errors made due to an insufficient instrument (Brancato et al., 2006). What must be stressed is the iterative nature of its design and development. The relationship between information demand and the response burden has to be taken into account when introducing new forms and assessing existing ones. The thirst for more and more facts and figures must be balanced against the reporting unit’s burden, quality aspects and costs.
As part of the survey process, the questionnaire preparation process, which is by its very nature an iterative process of improvement and development, must also be seen as a permanent and continuous cycle.
This module brings up the general issues connected with the questionnaire preparation for statistical data collection. The context is set for business surveys. The following modules are devoted to specific parts of the questionnaire design, making together with this module a list of modules devoted to the Questionnaire Design topic in this Handbook:
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