Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Design a questionnaire.

British Medical Journal 1993; 307 doi: (Published 13 November 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;307:1264
  1. D H Stone
  1. Public Health Research Unit, University of Glasgow.


    The design of questionnaires is a craft which has been badly neglected by the medical profession. A questionnaire should be appropriate, intelligible, unambiguous, unbiased, capable of coping with all possible responses, satisfactorily coded, piloted, and ethical. The key steps in designing a questionnaire are to: decide what data you need, select items for inclusion, design the individual questions, compose the wording, design the layout and presentation, think about coding, prepare the first draft and pretest, pilot, and evaluate the form, and perform the survey. Despite the apparently complicated nature of the task, theoretical knowledge is no substitute for practical experience.