Guidelines for the design of online-questionnaires

J. Lumsden

Research output: Preprint or Working paperTechnical report


As a new medium for questionnaire delivery, the internet has the potential to revolutionise the survey process. Online (web-based) questionnaires provide several advantages over traditional survey methods in terms of cost, speed, appearance, flexibility, functionality, and usability (Bandilla et al., 2003; Dillman, 2000; Kwak and Radler, 2002). Online-questionnaires can also provide many capabilities not found in traditional paper-based questionnaires: they can include pop-up instructions and error messages; they can incorporate links; and it is possible to encode difficult skip patterns making such patterns virtually invisible to respondents. Despite this, and the introduction of numerous tools to support online-questionnaire creation, current electronic survey design typically replicates that of paper-based questionnaires, failing to harness the full power of the electronic delivery medium. Worse, a recent environmental scan of online-questionnaire design tools found that little, if any, support is incorporated within these tools to guide questionnaire designers according to best-practice (Lumsden and Morgan, 2005). This article introduces a comprehensive set of guidelines - a practical reference guide - for the design of online-questionnaires.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNational Reaserch Council Canada
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

Publication series

NameTechnical Report
No.NRC 48231


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