"In designing questionnaires it is not merely important for us also to look at things from the respondents' point of view; we must make them feel that we are doing so."
Thus, when designing the questionnaire we should not only strive for a psychometrically reliable and valid instrument but also for an intrinsically involving one. As Oppenheim (1992) emphasizes, besides eliciting answers, each question also has a covert function to motivate the respondent to continue to cooperate. So, it may be worthwhile sometimes to be a bit more long-winded and instead of giving short prompts such as 'age of starting L2 studies' we could state each question in full, including the word 'please.' Of course, as with so many things in questionnaire construction, a delicate balance needs to be struck here between style and length considerations.
In Section 2.1.2, I argued that attractive layout is an important tool in making the questionnaire engaging. A variety of question styles can make the answering process less monotonous, and an interesting (but not confusing!) variety of graphic features (fonts, spacing) can create a fresh atmosphere. It was mentioned in an earlier section, for example, that a successful strategy someone used was to print documents on thick, beige paper in order for recipients to take them more seriously (Newell, 1993).
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