Optimise your Needs Assessment Questionnaire Design: General Tips to Maximise Your Mileage

health needs assessments filling in questionnaire

Effective Needs Assessment Questionnaire Design – the Catalyst You Need to Streamline Services

Shocked businesswoman submerged by the working documents

Your needs assessment questionnaire design could be more important than you realise. Without due consideration for health questionnaire design, you run the risk of slowing down data collection, and even decreasing the validity of data. And, what’s more, paper burdens can end up burying you before you know it!

But, with the right expertise (or the right software!), you can perfect your needs assessment questionnaire design. Better questionnaires mean a more accurate representation of issues in a community. This means care can be targeted more efficiently. 

With that in mind, here are some tips on needs assessment questionnaire design. We will start with the more general questionnaire advice – and then progress to specifics for health questionnaire design. 

8 General Considerations for Needs Assessment Questionnaire Design

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of needs assessment questionnaire design specifics, it’s important to lay some foundations. There are overarching fundamentals to designing a great set of questions. We have summarised the key points here: 

  • Know what you’re looking for, before you start looking. With any questionnaire, it is important to know your hypothesis before you start asking questions. 
  • Keep it short! Especially for children. The quality of responses may drop if you make a survey too long. Otherwise, you may risk people not completing all questions, or not giving accurate answers.
  • Keep the personal questions to the end. This is similar to a conversation. You wouldn’t start by asking probing, personal questions. You warm up to more serious topics. 
  • Use closed questions. A closed question has a set range of answers to choose from. This makes it far easier to analyse responses when you are sampling a large population. Although open questions can be useful, they are better few-and-far between – for specific problem areas. 
  • Avoid loaded questions. You can influence someone’s answers if you aren’t careful about how you word a question. Try to avoid putting your own opinion in a question, as this will invalidate any answers. 
  • Keep answers balanced. Similar to the last point; you don’t want to ‘lead’ a child to an answer, or it isn’t valid data. So, offer the same amount of positive answers as negatives.
  • Don’t use absolutes. By asking questions with absolutes – for example, ‘never’, ‘always’ or ‘every’ – you will only get polarised responses. Leave room for the respondent to tell you accurate information, don’t trap them in boxes. 
  • No double-barreled questions. Don’t try to cut down on your questionnaire length by combining two questions. Asking for feedback on more than one subject at a time is a surefire way to get meaningless responses. 

Looking for More?

With all of these points in mind, you should be well on your way to great needs assessment questionnaire design.

But if you still need more information, worry not! This is only the first part of our series on needs assessment questionnaire design. Check back in for our next post, Perfect Your Health Questionnaire Design with Our 7 HNA Specific Tips!

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