The basic rules of designing a survey questionnaire for a Masters’ dissertation

Getting a Master’s degree is very hard and we cannot deny its importance. One of the fundamental requirement for earning a Master’s degree is writing dissertation. Dissertation writing is not an easy task. It needs lots of time and efforts to be completed. Students find it difficult because of its difficulty and long process. There is a specific structure of dissertation and for a perfect dissertation; you have to strictly follow the rules of writing dissertation. The basic structure of dissertation is.

A Title Page

The title page includes the name of student, department, degree, dissertation title and date of submission


An abstract is a short summary of entire thesis. It is usually between 250 to 750 words

Content page

A content page is placed after title and abstract. It is written at the end of the thesis


The introduction explains the main ideas of a dissertation, why you have chosen this topic and how you are going to structure your dissertation.

Literature Review

Literature review is important for writing a thesis. It is an in depth study of previous researches. In literature review, you justify how your research fills the gap. It is often the first chapter to be written


It is compulsory if the dissertation is quantitative or qualitative, but it may not be required in theory subjects. The importance and size of this section varies with the discipline and topic chosen.  In methodology section, you explain and present your findings of research, which you have got through distributing questionnaires to the selected sample size.


It is the last section, where you explains the results of your finings and your opinion. In this section, you can give recommendations for future researchers.

As it is discussed, that methodology is the section, where you actually conduct your research. It can be done through surveys. Distributing questionnaires is a common type of surveys, where researcher distributes questionnaire among selected sample size. It is important that questionnaires are well designed and structured.

There are two types of questionnaires, open-ended (unstructured) and close-ended (structured). Open-ended questionnaires are difficult to construct and close-ended are difficult to analyze

Design/Structure of questionnaires

Following are the steps to design a questionnaire

  1. Study Protocol

In this step, you make the literature review, define the objectives and develop a hypothesis and main information to test a hypothesis

  1. Plan of analysis

In this section, you decide how the information gathered will be analyzed. You select the statistical tools for the analysis

  1. Information Needed

You makes a list which information is required from participants. In this section, type and format of variables is determined

  1. Designing different parts of questionnaire

In this section, you design the parts of questionnaire using the information needed

  1. Write Questions

You should write questions keeping in mind the population, its language, background, age group and ethnicity. The questions should be adaptable to the population

  1. Order of Questions

You should start with easy question, the general and difficult questions.

  1. Complete the Questionnaire

Add the general information and instructions for the participants. Also, define the key words.

After developing questionnaire, pilot study is required to be done to test if there are any changes required. After pilot study refine questionnaire and distribute it in the population (sample).