Difference Between Questionnaire and Schedule

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Questionnaire and Schedule

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Both techniques of using a questionnaire or a schedule in data collection for varying purposes have been popular these days. It may include purposes of research, filling forms, notifying preferences, data entries, or official reports that can be stored for later reference. The purposes and applications of these format sheets are expressed in various fields.

The main difference noticed can be if it is a monologue questionnaire in which you can only select the choices given, or if you have your own space for your interests to be taken as in the schedule. Furthermore, it also differs by the presence or absence of an inquirer if you answer it yourself without an aid.

There is also the difference that in a schedule, there is usually a person, mostly a representative of the inquirer, to help you with answering or filling out the form. This may be of important use to respondents who have different conditions that make them unable to respond themselves and has valid importance in research study analysis.

Schedule vs. Questionnaire

The Questionnaire has a pre-determined format of questions and answers that the audience can simply choose from. It makes the person taking the questionnaire think more about what the answer might look like and it is the least confusing that can be created. It is also much easier and less time-consuming. These printed formats appear more efficient, yet they still collect a lot of important or necessary details. This format can be used only when you can presume what its answers are on a definite basis. Questionnaire requires respondent to be literate to be able to read, understand make the choices based on it. Whereas, in a Schedule enables the respondent to perceive the questions with the help of an intermediary person. And once the respondent provides with answers, intermediary notes it down. Hence it may not be essential for respondent to be literate in case of a schedule. Usually, used for purposes that is of much less personal relevance and more of a community effect. It is to retrieve an answer for each option from a set of options given to the answerer. Hence, the name ‘questionnaire’ is just apt for its use. Just like the name says, you just have to answer the questions.

The schedule allows interrupted spaces to add in important details; most of the answers are not presumable, so the respondent has freedom of choice and expression. The answer he expresses is purely based on his ideas and may not always match the perceptions made when the questions of schedule were made. However, the answers may be similar to what is expected. It also depends on the efficiency of the enumerator on how accurate is the information is retrieved from the respondents. It may include additional unnecessary information, which could only mean loss of people’s time. Hence, a large possibility of missing important details is also a loophole in the schedule.

Difference Between Questionnaire and Schedule in Tabular Form

Main parameters of comparison Questionnaire  Schedule
1. Format A generalized approach to all audience members requiring common responses that could be used for relative mass analysis. It has an individualized format, and the results obtained vary from person to person.
2. Approach An interrogative approach but less choice in formulating one's answers and expressing interests. More offered choices and expanded respondent expression, and detailing is possible in a schedule depending on the field of its use.
3. Expressiveness Enquirer oriented and preset based expression only. Usually is a people-oriented format presentation and the answers appear vivid independent of the same question presented to all.
4. Applications Opt preferences; identify mass interests in evaluating a product, service, different courses, examinations, interviews, etc. Filling official forms including that of a bank, school admission, hospital anamnesis and examination evaluations noted.
5. Fields of use Business marketing, Research studies, Comparative analysis and evaluation etc. Hospitals, Schools and other official firms or offices that require information collected in detail may vary from person to person.
6. Choices A defined set of choices are given and only to be chosen, which is much easier and less time-consuming. The free space provides the enumerator an opportunity to ask questions and formulate the received information into more precise information and details as required. It may still contain some human errors and is not definite, as in a questionnaire.


7. Probability of error There are fewer errors possible as the preset choices of answers are already provided, and the respondents just have to choose from them based on their intuition or preferences. More errors are possible in the answers, and unnecessary information may interfere with the required details and may lead to missing out on details.
8.  Detailing Clarity or detailing in an answer could not be provided as it is limited to a selection of preset answers offering only less freedom. The reason behind the choice, or the explanation, is not required. And hence may not always be clear in expression. Here the inquirer asks the respondent certain questions to which he answers, and later the enumerator forms these answers into brief and precise information that can be of more clarity and accuracy, and only necessary information taken.
9. Clarity Enquirer receives the definite choices made and an analysis based on those, as the preset answers are the main criteria for defining it. The enquirer may not receive the answers he desired. Depending on who writes the answers, it may contain inaccuracies and errors. It further depends on the abilities and efficiency of the enumerator, and also the effective conversation made with the respondent.

What is a questionnaire?

A Questionnaire provides a set of questions to be answered by selecting, marking or to opt a choice out of the set of choices given. The answers are preset and offer the minimum freedom in offering original individualized expression and are dependent on the person who developed the questionnaire.

The uses can be extensive in marketing, epidemiology, and research analyses, population studies, finding relative common general interests among the public for a product or service, and may also be for evaluating a product or item and rating it.

What is the Schedule?

A schedule is like a questionnaire but only has preset questions and answers that vary from person to person and offer space to write as they wish. As a result, there is more freedom in the viewer's perspective. It is individual-oriented and not inquirer-oriented. Here, there is an additional person who helps the respondent in answering the questions. With this direct interaction, the answers they anticipate may be clearer, resulting in more accurate data collection. However, if it has a smaller reach because it takes more time and money to meet its costs, it may provide more precise details and information that can be extremely useful in research analysis.

The space provided can include severe additional details that may raise concerns regarding something, even if it is not exactly to answer the question and is additionally provided. This may be necessary, especially in medical forms, because conditions vary from person to person, and it is important to understand some important concerns that make each patient unique, even if they have the same disease, with different presentation and associated or secondary preexisting conditions.

Differences between the questionnaire and schedule in points


The format is different in appearance in both the questionnaire and schedules, as one provides only opting-in preset choices as answers and the other one enters a personalized entry into a space provided for the person who answers it.

The former contains a printed sheet with both preset questions and answers.


A questionnaire may only demand required information or necessary information and is based on who developed the questionnaire, whereas additional concerns, important knowledge, or additional detailing may be provided by the inquirer if space is separately given for them. On a schedule, it is only possible to tick, check, or marks the options and nothing else.


The approach to a questionnaire is purely inquirer-based, as even the answers are presumed much before the questionnaire is filled out and can only be compared between different people who have filled out the same questionnaire.

In contrast, in a schedule, the person has the freedom to express their interest in answers, which may or may not be as the inquirer desired. is more individualized and varies from person to person.


With much detailing already done with questions and answers, it makes it easier for the person to select it. It is less time-consuming and efficient, especially for the busy public, and can be used for areas that may be of irrelevant importance.

Whereas a schedule usually contains more important information, it is usually personal and is entered varyingly by different people, which may be more time-consuming as the person first must figure out what to fill out in the space given.

Error possibility

There is much less error possible as there is less interaction with the person who answers.

Whereas, in the schedule, there is more latitude in the answers that can be entered and may be inaccurate, sometimes missing necessary details.

Who is responsible for completing the form?

In a questionnaire, the informants themselves fill out the form, whereas, in a schedule, the enumerators fill it out on behalf of the respondents.


Even large distribution of printed questionnaires would be economical and less time-consuming compared to the time and direct interaction demanded by a schedule where there is an additional person between the inquirer and the respondent, that is the enumerator.

Public Coverage

In the case of a questionnaire, the coverage is usually wider in the public, whereas the direct interaction required in a scenario limits it to a smaller reach into the public. It could be used with respondents who can fill it out on their own, for varying reasons including language barriers, illiteracy, or other debilitating conditions.

Respondent identity revealing

A person's identity may not be revealed in a

It is a questionnaire as it considers less relevant questions about a person's information and more about their conditions, preferences, or experiences, which are important. As in a schedule, it may be necessary to fill in some personal details.


We know that research studies primarily involve large amounts of data collection, which forms the primary basis for anything else to be retrieved. This data may be collected in various ways, including conducting research-based talks, conducting interviews, or just filling out forms. It is much easier and less time-consuming. Usually, the forms to be filled out can be of two types: a questionnaire or a schedule.

In a schedule, the respondents themselves select or opt for the preset answers that appear on a printed sheet with both the preset questions and their choices, if they wish to retrieve an opinion from the public. Here the data derived is more definite as the perceived information can be collected because of the quality of the questionnaire itself. Its coverage extends to a larger public, but still only at an economical cost and less time-consuming.

The respondent may or may not even come into direct interaction with the concerned individuals who are responsible for conducting the research, and most of the time, there is no need to reveal identity in a questionnaire.

On the other hand, a schedule has an enumerator who aids the respondent in responding to the questions asked. However, it may have fewer people covered as it demands direct interaction and could be time-consuming and costly. Here, the success of data collection is determined by the enumerator's ability to retrieve accurate information from the respondents. Usually, applicable in cases where respondents are illiterate or have language barriers that make them unable to answer themselves.

With these forms, it is now easy to assess, and analyze an aspect, and its mass effects on a population basis, proving an essential component of research works.



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"Difference Between Questionnaire and Schedule." Diffzy.com, 2024. Wed. 17 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-questionnaire-and-schedule-83>.

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