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Whether you’re a moderator looking to effectively facilitate a focus group, or an executive looking to tighten your understanding of market insights, a strong questionnaire is key to preparing for the most effective research study, and for gathering quality insights from your audience.

But, before you can start writing a questionnaire, you have to understand its function in the market research process. You can begin this process by writing an outline from scratch, or using a questionnaire template, like our downloadable examples in the next section. 

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Write the Outline

Approaching an outline for your questionnaire is straightforward. In your outline, start by identifying the issue at hand or problem your team wants to study. By learning about this issue, what does your team hope to accomplish, or how will this research impact the business?

In our example below, a research team has written out its objective for a hand sanitizer project.

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Finally, consider what types of survey questions will yield the best results or insights. Does your issue require in-depth and open-ended questions, or will single-choice and closed-ended questions suffice? Remember to consider how your audience speaks, and meet them there. 

Read: Questionnaire Template [Outline]

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Create the Questionnaire

There are a number of ways to approach writing your discussion guide. 

In our example below, the research team has chosen a mix of question types, and selected a synchronous data collection method (as suggested by the time stamp to the right of each question). To review an in-depth discussion guide with best practices and advice from our in-house research team, download the discussion guide example.

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Writing a discussion guide - and gathering quality insights with actionable recommendations - is a massive undertaking. Smooth over the process by breaking it into steps.

The first step is to establish parameters for your research. Consider the overall question your research will answer. Your questionnaire could also cover what do you need to know about competitors and their products, choose between researching the market in general or a target audience, and understand the preferences of consumers.

Your questionnaire should also collect contextual information required to inform an in-depth study. Map the data required to go ahead with a product launch, repositioning, or messaging and use it to structure your inquisition.

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Speak with Consumers

While a discussion guide or questionnaire template can prepare you for a study, it doesn’t allow you to read a customer’s mind. This issue can be resolved by including secondary or background data in discussion guides or survey preparation. Additionally, your team can choose a methodology that encourages more synchronous discussion, rather than a one-way communication.

Here are a few questionnaire templates (and other collateral) that can get your discussion guide started:

Using some of the questionnaire templates, your discussion guide should clearly walk participants through industry trends, perceptions of products, perceptions of competitors, consumer behaviors and preferences, mergers and acquisitions, onboarding processes, and so much more.

Read: Questionnaire Template [Discussion Guide]

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Share Your Findings 

Once your survey or questionnaire is complete, it's time to evaluate the findings. A strong questionnaire outline will prevent any difficulties with organizing and articulating key findings from a study.

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In this findings report example, based on the previous discussion guide outline and example, final findings can be illustrated through data visualization and from direct responses from study participants.

If budget allows, encourage your team to consider artificial intelligence-powered research methods or automate your final data collection from manual research. This will not only accelerate a study, but reduce time to market for product's in vulnerable product life cycle phases like maturity or decline.

Read: Findings Report Example [Comprehensive]

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Wrapping Up Questionnaires 

Thoughtful questionnaires and preliminary discussion guides are a necessity in generating powerful research.

Whether your insights team is gauging customer service satisfaction, or collecting feedback on a new product, crafting a strong guide is key to company success.

Want even more questionnaire templates and inspiration? Download our eBook on the subject!{{cta('5c7b2d4a-c7fe-4e44-8516-00cf96855bd5')}}