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Questionnaire design (NatCen)

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This live online course explores how this highly participatory course provides a thorough grounding in questionnaire design. (NatCen trainers) * 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.


Course tutors


Jo d’Ardenne is a Research Director at NatCen, specialising in Survey Methods. She is the head of NatCen’s Questionnaire Development and Testing (QDT) Hub. Jo regularly provides consultancy on questionnaire design issues to a wide range of government, academic and public sector organisations. She has experience of designing questions for multiple audiences including the general public, parents, children and young people and cross-national surveys. Jo has experience in using different methodologies to evaluate survey questionnaires. She has experience in conducting desk-based reviews, expert panels, cognitive interviews, user-testing and eye-tracking research. She is a co-author of Cognitive Interviewing Practice, a text book about cognitive interviewing published by Sage.


Lisa Rutherford has nearly two decades of experience working on a wide range of quantitative research and across a number of policy areas.

She is currently a member of NatCen’s Questionnaire Development and Testing Hub. Prior to this she was a Research Director at ScotCen, NatCen’s Edinburgh office. While there she most recently led on a Scottish Government telephone survey on the health and wellbeing of the population during COVID-19.  She was project director of the Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) between 2012 and 2015 and since then has been research lead on the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Growing up in Scotland (GUS) – a longitudinal birth cohort study. On GUS she was involved in the design and testing of new questions on non-resident parents.

Lisa has extensive experience of all aspects of survey methodology and analysis, with a particular focus on questionnaire design. Design and development has been a key feature of her work at NatCen, across a number of surveys and topics, and she is a trainer for the Social Research Association training courses on questionnaire design and cognitive interviewing. In recent years she has led ScotCen’s team delivering question testing work for Scotland’s Census 2021, including testing questions on topics including sex, trans status and sexual orientation. In 2019 she led in the development and analysis of a module of questions on violence against woman and girls for the Scottish Social Attitudes survey.  Lisa also sat on Scotland’s Census 2022 External Methodology Assurance Panel.


Course fee payable to SRA.


  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


Looking to book for four or more people from your organisation? Please let us know before booking by emailing: [email protected]


10/11/2023 9:30 AM - 10/12/2023 1:30 PM
GMT Summer Time
Registration not available.

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