Questionnaire design

This training course is in partnership with the Social Research Association
  • Event time:
    11th October 2023 09:30 – 12th October 2023 13:30
  • Format:

This live online course explores how this highly participatory course provides a thorough grounding in questionnaire design. 

Price:  £165 for SRA members, £220 for non-members. It runs over two mornings and uses Zoom software.


This course is aimed at giving participants a thorough grounding in questionnaire design. This course will be highly participatory, with sessions aimed at providing hands-on experience of designing questionnaires and survey questions, for quantitative social research.


By the end of the course participants should:

  • Have a greater awareness of the different aspects involved in writing good survey questions and questionnaires
  • Be able to design questions that:
    • meet research objectives,
    • take analysis considerations into account,
    • take account of primacy and recency effects,
    • avoid ambiguous words or concepts,
    • avoid writing multiple questions in one,
    • minimise problems of recall error and telescoping.
  • Have the tools to critique existing surveys


  • Questionnaire and measurement error
  • Concepts to indicators
  • General principles of question design
  • Designing response options
  • Writing questionnaires for different modes
  • Reviewing survey questions
  • Your questions and questionnaire design challenges

Who will benefit?

A general familiarity with quantitative research methods is assumed, but it is not necessary to have experience of using these methods. You will find this course useful if:

  • you are new to survey research
  • you need to design survey questionnaires for the first time
  • you commission or manage survey research in central or local government, health or other applied policy sectors and need to understand the issues associated with questionnaire design.

Learning outcomes

  • Participants will have a good awareness of the optimal ways to word individual questions and create the questionnaire as a whole.

This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme.

n.b. This course runs over two consecutive mornings:

Part 1 - 11 October 2023 - 9.30 am to 1.30 pm

Part 2 - 12 October 2023 - 9.30 am to 1.30 pm


  • Joanna d'Ardenne
    Senior Research Director (QDT Hub)
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    Joanna d’Ardenne is a Senior Research Director working within the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)’s Questionnaire Design and Testing (QDT) Hub. Jo regularly provides consultancy on survey design issues for public and third sector organisations. She is experienced using a range of methodologies including focus groups, depth-interviews, cognitive interviewing, user-testing and eye-tracking. She is responsible for the day-to-day running of questionnaire development projects.

    Jo regularly teaches courses on questionnaire design and cognitive interviewing skills to a range of stakeholders. She is co-author of the text book ‘Cognitive Interviewing in Practice’, available from Sage publications.

    She has an MSc in Health Psychology from London Metropolitan University and a BA (Hons) in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Sheffield. Her research interests include novel methods of question testing, asking sensitive questions, cognitive interviewing and theories of behavioural change.

  • Lisa Rutherford
    Research Director
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    Lisa Rutherford is a Research Director for the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen). She has been with ScotCen for eight years and, in that period, has worked on a variety of surveys including the Scottish Social Attitudes survey and the British Social Attitudes survey. 

    She's been heavily involved in the development and testing of questions on all of the surveys she's been involved with. Lisa has a particular interest in how information relating to mental health and well-being are captured through quantitative surveys.