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Questionnaire design: a weak link in corporate identity?

Jane Brown (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Anders Wäppling (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Helen Woodruffe-Burton (Edge Hill Business School, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 6 February 2020

Issue publication date: 20 March 2020




The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to questionnaires as a corporate touch point, and their relationship with corporate identity (CI).


Following observational research, the paper presents a review of published works, including journals, textbooks and industry papers that consider qualitative aspects of questionnaire design. Primary data was collected via existential phenomenological interviews to understand the experiences of employees who engage with questionnaires from external companies within the industrial business-to-business (B2B) industry.


A lack of practical advice around aesthetic appearance of questionnaires in both journal papers and research design textbooks is identified, suggesting limited awareness of visual aspects of questionnaire design, even for those with formal training. Through interviews, it is suggested that poor design is forgiven through the understanding of the practical nature of the document, the idea that CI is a performance that is unnecessary at particular points of the B2B relationship, and that a more powerful company need not spend time on CI if collecting data from a stakeholder that is perhaps perceived as less important than other stakeholders. The findings indicate that organisations should consider questionnaires as a vehicle to promote CI, and as stakeholders to consider the document in terms of their relationship with the issuing company.

Research limitations/implications

This study proposes that qualitative inquiry is required to further determine how questionnaires are understood as a corporate touch point by stakeholders.


This paper considers the relationship between questionnaire appearance and stakeholder perceptions in the context of CI.



Brown, J., Wäppling, A. and Woodruffe-Burton, H. (2020), "Questionnaire design: a weak link in corporate identity?", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 87-107.



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