In association with

  • West
  • NHS

Guide to Questionnaires for Service Evaluation


This guide has been designed to be used for reference if you are considering using any form of questionnaire in your service evaluation. If you are in the BNSSG area please register your survey activity with the BNSSG R&E team ( or 0117 900 2268).

This guide will cover:

  1. Choosing to use questionnaires
  2. Defining objectives
  3. What format should it take
  4. Sampling and involvement
  5. Questionnaire design
  6. Piloting your quesionnaire
  7. Coding and scoring data
  8. Analysing data
  9. Presenting results
  10. Ethics, data protection and information governance
  11. Disseminating your findings

1. When should I use a questionnaire in my service evaluation?

A questionnaire may be useful to you if…

  • Time and resources are limited
  • You want to collect data from a large number of people
  • You want a few standardised responses
  • You want to find out about knowledge, beliefs, attitudes or behaviour
  • Anonymity is important
  • The Evaluator is unlikely to be present during data collection
  • You want to collect data via post or online
  • You want simple answers to basic questions
  • You need mostly quantitative results
  • You accept the limitations (see box 1)

Questionnaires are not the right choice if…

  • You don’t yet know what the main issues or themes are
  • You want detailed information
  • You want to know about a complex or controversial issue
  • Your respondents may need probing; or not necessarily have an opinion.
  • Your population might struggle with reading or understanding the questions
  • Your population cannot use or access a computer (for online surveys)