Questionnaire administration

By Priya Chetty on August 26, 2016

In my previous article Questionnaire development in theses and dissertation, I have discussed about the questionnaire development process, the next step is to administer the questionnaire. Questionnaire administration in a proper way and to chose the sample from population is important. It assists the researcher in incurring actual data. In addition it helps them in achieving the research questions and research objectives. The type of research instrument and its administration depends on the type of method and strategies opted.The table below highlights the appropriate strategy which required in questionnaires which can be structured and semi-structured.

Strategies Research instrument
Survey Structured and close-ended questionnaire
Case study Interviews, observation, documentary analysis, and semi-structured interview questionnaires
Interview Semi-structured & Open-ended questionnaires
Focus Groups & Nominal Group Technique Unstructured and Semi-structured questionnaires

Source: Saunders et al. (2009)

This article is focuses on questionnaire administration of survey and interview strategies. Administration of questionnaire involves two essential steps:

  1. Permission from the respective authority/respondents and
  2. Administration of questionnaire using appropriate route.

Steps to questionnaire administration

Questionnaires can be administered using different portals like:

  • Postal,
  • Electronic,
  • Face-to-face and
  • Telephone.

Both the administration of a pilot and final questionnaire requires interviewers or administrators even in case of self-administered. The steps to administration of questionnaire are:

Questionnaire administration
Questionnaire administration

Questionnaire administration in different cases

Administration of questionnaires in both survey and interview involves certain elements to consider upon. This include place of survey/interview, sample targeted and authority from whom permission needs to be sought. These elements are described using following scenarios as instances:

Telephonic interview

Questionnaires are e-mailed to the respondents on the day of individual appointment along with instructions. Furthermore, clarifications are made regarding the questions (if & when needed) followed by recording of answers.

Survey120 consumers visiting DLF Emporio Mall, Delhi.From individual consumers/respondents visiting the mall, over a period of a week.


Questionnaires are distributed by explaining the purpose of the study and instructions. From the HR department and individual respondents. After which appointment dates were fixed, with each of the respondents.

No. Scenario Strategy applied Sample targeted and Place of data collection Permission sought Administration procedure
1 To understand the ability to read English paragraphs among Class 4 students of State Government Schools. Survey 90 students of all three sections of Class 4, belonging to both the genders. Survey to be taken in a Government run school based in Central New Delhi. From School Principal and Respective Class Teachers. Self-administered Explained the instructions in each of the two sections and guided the respondents constantly, with the help of an administrator and the class teacher, keeping in mind the age of the respondents.
2 To explore the constraints faced by teachers in maintaining an effective teaching-learning environment within inclusive classroom. Interview 30 class & subject teachers of 15 prominent schools of Mumbai, where inclusive education is being imparted. From the Principal and Human Resource Department (if any). Face to face

Purpose and instructions are explained, after handing over the questionnaires. After which they are asked to write down their views.

3 To examine the significance of organizational motivation on female employee retention and performance, in an IT firm. Survey 300 female employees of an IT company, based in Hyderabad. From the HR department and respective Department Head or Team Leader. Electronic portal

The questionnaires along with instructions page are distributed among the targeted female employees. Upon receiving their complete information from the HR department and their prior consent.

4 To understand the effect of employee performance on the motivation and recognition of Managers Interview 40 Managers of 10 MNC based in Bangalore, Pune,  Gurgaon and Trivandrum, across various departments. To explore the effect of persuasion of International designer apparel brands on the degree of purchase by urban consumers.
6 To examine the security and privacy provided by e-retailers to their consumers’ personal and transaction information. Interview Service Managers of 10 big and small e-retailers functioning in India. From the HR Department and individual respondents followed by fixed appointment dates with each of the respondents. Telephonic interview

Questionnaires are e-mailed to the respondents  along with instructions. Further clarifications were made regarding the questions (if & when needed) followed by recording of answers.


  • Burns, N. & Grove, S.K., 1993. The practice of nursing research. Conduct, critique and utilization, Philadelphia: Saunders.
  • Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A., 2009. Research Methods for Business Students 5th ed., Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.
  • Siniscalco, M.T. & Auriat, N., 2005. Questionnaire Design, Paris, France.

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).



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