Questionnaire Design: How to design a questionnaire for needs assessments in humanitarian emergencies

The brief starts with an explanation of the main purpose of a questionnaire and the principles that should be followed to reach these objectives. Afterwards, the ten steps of questionnaire development are discussed. The brief concludes with sections on what to keep in mind specifically when designing a questionnaire and individual questions. It focuses on questionnaire design for interviewer-administered (as opposed to self-administered) surveys, as this is the most common approach used in humanitarian emergencies. However, Section two briefly touches upon the impact of different survey modes on questionnaire format and wording.

This brief focusses on how to gather the information required; it does not provide recommendations on what information should be collected. In addition, the design, roll-out and ultimately the success of an assessment involves much more than designing a questionnaire. It includes deciding the sampling strategy, arranging logistics, data processing, etc. This brief touches on these other components only as far as they are relevant to the design of questionnaires.

Resource Info

Resource Type

Technical Note


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Needs Assessment