Difference between questionnaire and interview

Difference between questionnaire and interview

People use the questionnaire quite commonly and program interchangeably, due to many similarities in their nature; however, there are many differences between these two. While a survey compiled by the informants themselves, the enumerators fill the program on behalf of the interviewee.

The incomplete research process without data collection, which starts after the identification of the research problem and the research design. The researcher should keep in mind that there are two types of data, ie primary and secondary data. There are several methods involved in the collection of primary data, such as observation, interview, questionnaires, schedules, etc.

Comparative graph

Basis for comparisonQuestionProgramme
Sense The questionnaire refers to a data collection technique which consists of a series of written questions together with alternative answers. Schedule a formal set of questions, declarations and spaces for answers, provided to enumerators who ask the interviewees questions and note their answers.
Filled by The interviewees enumerators
Response rate Bass tall
coverage Great Relatively small
Cost Cheap Expensive
Identity of the respondent Unknown Known
Success matters Quality of the questionnaire Honesty and competence of the enumerator.
use Only when people are literate and collaborative. Used on both literate and illiterate people.

Definition of the questionnaire

We define the questionnaire as a research tool, which consists of a list of questions, together with the choice of answers, printed or typed in a sequence on a form used to acquire specific information from the interviewees. In general, the questionnaires are delivered to interested people by post or post, asking them to answer the questions and return them. Informants must read and understand the questions and answer in the space provided in the questionnaire itself.

The questionnaire prepared in such a way as to translate the information requested into a series of questions, which informants can and will answer. Furthermore, it should be such that the interviewee is motivated and encouraged, to let him participate in the interview and complete it. The merits of the questionnaires are discussed below:

  • an inexpensive method, regardless of the size of the universe.
  • Free from the interviewer's prejudice, as respondents answer questions with his own words.
  • Respondents have enough time to think and respond.
  • Thanks to its wide coverage, respondents living in remote areas can also be reached comfortably.

Definition of the program

The program is a proforma which contains a list of questions compiled by researchers or by enumerators, specifically appointed for data collection purposes. The enumerators go to the informants with the program and ask them the questions from the set, in the sequence and record the answers in the space provided. There are some situations in which the program is distributed to the interviewees and the enumerators help them to answer the questions.

Enumerators play an important role in data collection, through programs. They explain the objectives and objects of research to the interviewees and interpret the questions when requested. This method is inexpensive as the selection, appointment and training of enumerators require an enormous amount. It is used for in-depth investigations conducted by government agencies, large organizations. The most common example of data collection is planning the population census.

Key differences between questionnaire and program

The important points of difference between questionnaire and program are as below:

  1. The questionnaire refers to a data collection technique which consists of a series of written questions together with alternative answers. The program is a formal set of questions, declarations and spaces for answers, provided to the enumerators who ask the interviewees questions and note the answers.
  2. The questionnaires are delivered to the informants by post or post and answered as specified in the cover letter. On the other hand, the programs are compiled by the research operators, who interpret the questions to the respondents, if necessary.
  3. The low response rate in the case of questionnaires, as many people do not respond and often return it without answering all the questions. On the contrary, the response rate is high, as they are filled by the enumerators, who can get answers to all the questions.
  4. The questionnaires can be distributed simultaneously to a large number of people and even the respondents who are not accessible can be reached easily. Conversely, in the planning method, relatively small coverage, since enumerators cannot be sent to a large area.
  5. The collection of data according to the relatively more economical and economical questionnaire method since the money is invested only in the preparation and publication of the questionnaire. Against this, a large amount is spent for the appointment and training of the enumerators and also for the preparation of schedules.
  6. In the questionnaire method, I do not know who answers the question, while, in the case of the program, the identity of the respondent note.
  7. The success of the questionnaire is based on the quality of the questionnaire, while the honesty and competence of the enumerator determine the success of a program.
  8. The questionnaire is usually used only when the interviewees have a knowledge and a cooperation. Unlike the program that can be used for collecting data from all classes of people.


Because everything has two aspects, as in the case of the questionnaire and the program. The risk of collecting inaccurate and incomplete information is high in the questionnaire, as it could happen that people are not able to understand the question correctly. On the contrary, planning risks prejudice and the interviewer's cheating.