THE UTILITY AND LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRE IN SURVEY RESEARCH
The research questionnaire has been a useful instrument of data collection in survey research. However, some of the important factors that might become potential limitations in the use of the instrument are discussed in this paper. They include, issues relating to validity, reliability, biases and misinterpretation of questionnaire items. Other issues examined are limitations posed by cliche, evasive answers and those relating to the scope and extent of the instrument. This demands a responsibility on the part of the researcher who intends to use the instrument to attempt to reduce or eliminate them. This can be achieved by critically examining the items on the questionnaire to ensure that they relate to the issues being investigated, ensuring that all items in the questionnaire are fitted together, and avoiding leading questions, and by carrying out careful empirical checking. Also, questions should be arranged in such a way that simple questions come before complex ones and by cross-checking answers given by respondents. However, the most critical issue to
consider is determining whether or not the instrument is most appropriate for the specific research. The appropriateness of the instrument will depend on the requirement of the research problem, with regard to the type of respondents required for the study, the accessibility of respondents, the precision of the hypotheses, the extent of respondents' information, time andfinancial considerations.