There are a couple of different ways to approach a questionnaire cover letter, but in almost all cases you’ll want to include an introduction of the project, why you’re asking for information, and a brief summary of what you’ll do with the data that’s collected; it’s also usually a good idea to provide some reason or explanation that can encourage people to continue through and answer all the questions. Including instructions and any special guidelines is also usually a good idea, and providing a phone number or address people can contact for more information can be helpful, too. The overarching format of the letter can be formal or casual depending on the audience and subject matter, though many people choose more of a business letter format. This can help the packet look official while imparting a degree of confidence and professionalism to the project as a whole.
Understand the Letter’s Purpose
It’s often a good idea to take a few moments to think about your questionnaire and its goals before sitting down to write your cover letter. You’ll want to consider why you’re sending the questions out in the first place, as well as who is receiving them. If everyone who is going to be getting the questionnaire is expecting it, you can assume a bit more familiarity than would be appropriate for recipients who are more or less random, or who don’t necessarily know you, your company, or the project at all.
Set Out Basic Information
Once you’ve given some thought to the audience and how recipients are likely to view the materials, it’s time to get started. Most letter writers start with very basic information, including the date, your name and address, and the contact information for the company commissioning the survey. Some companies write their own questionnaires, in which case this can of course be skipped; in the event that the survey has been contracted out, though, introducing these details is usually important right at the beginning. p>
Outline the Project
In general, it’s a good idea to use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and the commissioning company. Include details on the philosophy and outlook to help familiarize the recipient with the goals of the company and the scope of the project. Then, in the next paragraph, introduce the questionnaire itself. Use the space to explain the objectives and why it has been commissioned. If the company is looking to develop new products, receive feedback or develop policy, then let the respondent know. It’s also important to discuss how the responses will be used, and if they will be kept confidential.
The third paragraph should contain details about how to complete the questionnaire and any pertinent instructions. This includes any time limit on responding, how the questionnaire can be returned, and the nature of the questionnaire’s format. If all or part of the questionnaire is online, you’ll want to be sure to provide the right web address and any needed passwords or user codes.
You will probably also want to take a few sentences to discuss the sort of responses you’re looking for, and what recipients can do if they want to provide additional information or feedback. You might explain if the survey is all multiple choice or if it requires detailed answers, for instance. At some point it’s also usually necessary to state that returning the survey serves as the giving of consent to use the details provided.
It’s common to use the final paragraph to express your appreciation for the recipient's response. Acknowledging the time the respondent will take to fill out and return the questionnaire is usually a good idea, and if there are any prizes or drawings associated with completed submissions, this can be a good time to let respondents know about them.
Most people end the questionnaire cover letter with a closing such as “Sincerely,” and you should usually repeat your name and job title here. Once finished, check the document for spelling and grammar errors, re-read it, prepare it for distribution.