PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (3): 368-375.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.03.011

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Application standard of questionnaire survey in tourism research

Zhihua ZHANG(), Jinhe ZHANG*(), Zehua LIU, Yi ZHENG, Man YANG   

  1. Department of Land Resources and Tourism Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2015-06-01 Accepted:2015-09-01 Online:2016-03-25 Published:2016-03-25
  • Contact: Jinhe ZHANG;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271161


Questionnaire survey is an important means and method for tourism study. However, when employing questionnaire survey in tourism research, there has been a general lack of concern for standardization. This article reports the findings from an analysis of 468 articles that used questionnaire survey, in four major Chinese journals in area of tourism, from 2005-2014. Based on information retrieval and statistical analysis, this study found that the number of articles employing questionnaire survey showed an increasing trend from 2005-2014, and questionnaire survey was broadly applied in all areas of tourism study. It also found problems in the application of questionnaire survey in tourism study, including: (1) The awareness for standardization of questionnaire design was low, some articles lacked necessary description of theoretical basis for the questionnaire design and test and correction of questionnaires. Only 51.71% of the 468 articles described the theoretical basis for questionnaire design normatively, and 29.06% have done the pretest and correction of questionnaires, indicating that tourism researchers did not pay as much attention to questionnaire design as we might have thought. (2) Representativeness of the samples was often unknown due to lack of introduction of sampling method, questionnaire survey respond rate, and sample size. About 64% of the 468 articles did not report the sampling method, and 26.71% did not report the respond rate. Meanwhile, 66.88% of the 468 articles' questionnaire surveys had a respond rate of above 70%, indicating an acceptable level. With regard to sample size, 66.88% of the 468 articles had a sample size of above 200 owing to the requirement of statistical analysis of the data. (3) Statistical analysis of survey data should be more normative and some articles lacked data reliability and validity test. Around 46% of the 468 articles lacked data reliability test and 52.78% lacked of data validity test. With regard to statistical analysis methods, we found that only 29.28% of the articles employed descriptive statistical methods and 70.72% employed inferential statistical methods, indicating that all kinds of inferential statistical methods were needed to explain and illustrate complicated tourism phenomena. Based on these analyses, this article puts forward a general framework for the application of questionnaire survey in future tourism study.

Key words: tourism study, questionnaire survey, application standard, research methods