How to Do a Quantitative Research Questionnaire

by Bryant Harland

Research questionnaires are one of the primary methods for conducting quantitative research. They are inexpensive, and you can give a questionnaire in person, on the phone, by email, or mail. Quantitative surveys ask questions with specific, usually numerical answers so that you can analyze the data quickly. They are useful for gathering large amounts of data, but they are not designed to gather descriptive information.

Identify the objective of your research. This will guide you through the questionnaire writing process. Your objective should be as clear as possible, and highlight specific information you want to discover. For example, an objective such as "to identify how satisfied people are in their relationships," is not a clear objective because too much is left open for interpretation. A better objective would be, "to identify the level of satisfaction that couples who have been married for at least 1-5 years have in the communication aspect of their relationship."

Identify your sampling group. Your objective will determine what group(s) you will want to sample. In the example objective, you would want to focus your attention on married couples.

Determine the number of people you want to answer your questionnaire; this is your sample size. This will depend on the amount of time and money you can spend on research, but you should pick a target sample size.

Develop a numerical scale for your quantitative research questions. You will need to explain the scale to your participants. Popular research scales go from 1 to 5, or 1 to 10. You will need to explain your scale to your participants. For example, if you used the 1 to 10 scale to measure satisfaction, you would explain that answering with "1" means "Not Satisfied," while answering "10," would mean "very satisfied."

Write quantitative research questions that fit the scale you created. For example, you could ask, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the amount of verbal communication between you and your spouse?"

Review your questionnaire. Check that your questions are clear, and achieve the overall objective of your research. You can also ask friends, peers, and coworkers to preview your questionnaire before you officially give it out to give you an idea of its effectiveness.


  • There are many quantitative questions that don't require you to develop your own scale. For example, if you ask, "How tall are you," you're looking for a specific value.
  • Keep your questionnaire as short as possible. The easier something is to finish, the more likely people are to finish it.