Certain basic principles if followed will make the questionnaire more effective both in terms of response ate as well as the quality of the response. Some of the principles are:
1. Questions should be short
2. Questions must logically flow from the preceding to the succeeding question.
3. Each questions must cover only one point
4. Each question must convey precisely the same thing to each respondent.
5. Questions should not, as far as possible be memory based. The questionnaire should not be unduly long.
6. Questions should be such that tabulation of data becomes easy
7. Introductory questions should be asked in the beginning
8. Questions relating to disclosure of confidential data should be the last and asked indirectly.
Pre-testing the Questionnaire: It is absolutely necessary to experiment it with as sample of respondents readily available viz., friends colleagues or relatives
The objective of testing the questionnaire with them is to find out whether questions are being interpreted the desired manner whether all relevant information is being generated though the questionnaire, how much time is taken to complete a questionnaire etc. If pre-testing is done on a sample which closely resembles the ultimate sample of respondents to be interviewed the results of pre-testing will be more useful.
Determination of the Sample:
In market research problems, it is not possible to have census approach because of limitation of time and costs. What is feasible is to develop a sample which will represent the universe on all the characteristics. The process of sample determination involves: (1) defining the population, (2) determining the sampling frame, (3) deciding on the sampling method and sample size, and (4) selecting the sample.
Here is a direct correlation between size of the sample and cost of the research project. For a company in a developing country trying to make an entry in a foreign markets heavy expenditure on account of market research may not be feasible. Further, there cam be restrictions imposed by the Government in the form of foreign exchange released for this purpose. The final decision on the sample will, therefore have to be not only scientific but also pragmatic taking to account the constraints imposed on the firm.
In order to secure the best possible return out of the limited time that can be spent in the export market to conduct the market research, it will be absolutely necessary to plan the visit carefully. The following steps, if taken can help:
Advance Planning of time Frame:
The market researcher prepares a complete list of respondents at the desk research stage. The number of entries in the list will determine the time that will be required to contact them. It is better to be conservative in estimating the time requirement. Because of language difficulty or transport bottlenecks, it may not be possible to conduct more than two or three interviews a day.
The holiday pattern is not similar in every country. Care must be taken that the time selected for field research is proper. For example there is no point in planning a field program during Christmas me or in July when most people will be on leave in the Western countries. Similarly the Ramzan month should be avoided so far as the Middle Eastern countries are concerned.
Planning of the Tour Plan:
Cost of international travel constitutes a large proportion of the total field research costs. Therefore, if number of prospective countries can be covered at one go it would be economical. This is true not only in the case of research but of all trade promotional travels.
Arranging institutional help:
Embassies and high Commissioners can help in arranging interviews in advance, if they contacted well before and the objectives of the field visit are communicated. Similarly help can also be obtained from various Import promotion center activities.