Developing a self-administered questionnaire: methods and considerations
Evidence and practice    

Developing a self-administered questionnaire: methods and considerations

Rebecca J Leon Director, people and culture, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Warwick Farm, NSW, Australia
Samuel Lapkin Senior lecturer, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Lorraine Fields Lecturer/subject coordinator, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Tracey Moroney Head of school, Curtin School of Nursing, Curtin University, WA, Australia

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the step-by-step process involved in developing a self-administered questionnaire

  • To identify strategies to improve the styles of questionnaire items and comprehension, and to reduce acquiescent bias

  • To promote best practice when establishing the face, content, construct and internal consistency validity of a self-administered questionnaire

Background Using a structured process to develop a self-administered questionnaire provides a robust tool for collecting data that enhances the credibility of the results. Describing this process mitigates any complexity and confusion for the nurse researcher which can be generated by many sources of information that either lack detail or have complex statistical approaches.

Aim To discuss the development of a self-administered questionnaire with a focus on face, content, construct validity and reliability testing.

Discussion Adopting a well-established, sequential, five-step approach ensures that important concepts of questionnaire development are addressed: assessing existing tools and qualitative data, if available; drafting of the questionnaire with consideration for question styles, comprehension, acquiescent bias and face validity; expert panel review to establish content validity and inter-rater reliability; pilot testing to assess construct validity; and exploratory factor analysis to establish reliability testing. This approach results in a robust and credible tool for collecting data.

Conclusion This article provides nurse researchers with a structured process for developing self-administered questionnaires.

Implications for practice Investing time and effort to assess a newly developed questionnaire for validity and reliability and consider question styles, comprehension and acquiescent bias results in an improved and strengthened tool for collecting data. This in turn enhances the quality and credibility of a study’s findings.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1848

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Leon RJ, Lapkin S, Fields L et al (2022) Developing a self-administered questionnaire: methods and considerations. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1848

Published online: 31 August 2022

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