What is a Questionnaire and when should I use one?

A Questionnaire is a powerful module that allows you and your Reviewers to evaluate Vendor responses side-by-side. As you can see below, Vendor responses are displayed next to each other, so the evaluation team can quickly assess and score each response right on the same screen. Those who use Questionnaires report faster evaluations and more consistent scoring.


When should I use a Questionnaire? 

Questionnaires can be used on a wide variety of projects that range from simple to complex. Projects that require Vendors to respond to a long list of requirements (e.g., IT, medical equipment) naturally lend themselves to Questionnaires. 

However, we've also seen Questionnaires being used on simple RFQ projects, where the purchasing organization is collecting information such as the Vendor's address and past experience.

Ultimately, if you prefer to receive structured responses from your Vendors, Questionnaires are for you.

If your question is very open-ended and/or you expect Vendors' answers to be several pages long, it may be best to ask for that information through a regular Requested Information slot, since files cannot be embedded in the Questionnaire response template. Examples of such questions include when asking for a plan of some sort (such as an implementation plan for a service) or a proponent's qualifications and work history in a resume format.

What the Vendors See

If you're curious about what the Vendor template will look like, you can download a version of it from the Questionnaires section in the Project Details page. Note: you can only do this once you have mapped your completed Questionnaire to your Requested Information (for instructions on how to do that, see here). Bonfire highly recommends reviewing your template before your project is open and accepting submissions. 


You can find out more information about what the Vendors see here

Minimum Required Information for a Questionnaire

When creating a Questionnaire, you must have an initial plan including:

1. What information you will be collecting from the vendors (setting up the questions themselves)

2. How you will organize those questions within the questionnaire (using Question Sets)

3. How you will evaluate the vendor's responses (allocating point values to each question)

4. Configuring optional components of the Questionnaire (using question subsets, defining vendor response options and defining auto-scoring parameters)

1. Questions

Before setting off, you will need to have a list of questions that you wish for the Vendors to respond to. When we say 'question', we mean a piece of information you wish to gather from your Vendors. These questions can be used to simply gather information or can be scored directly. Although this is not typically the case, individual questions can be assigned to Evaluation Groups. 

2. Question Set

You may choose to have just one main Question Set, or you may want to break down your Questionnaire into multiple different Question Sets. Think of them as categories for your questions to be sorted into. There must be at least one Question Set in a Questionnaire. You can assign Question Sets to Evaluators, should you want specific Evaluation Groups to score certain sets.    

3. Points

Each Question will also need to be assigned a point value to be scored out of. If a question isn't meant to be scored, then it can be assigned a value of 0

NOTE: You can use the point value to show the relative importance of a question. For instance, you can assign a requirement double the point value of another, if it's deemed to be twice as important. 

4. Optional Components

After you're done creating the skeleton of the Questionnaire (i.e., you've created all of the minimum required information), you have some other optional components that you can include to further customize the Questionnaire.

Question Subset

If you want to further divide your Question Sets into smaller increments (for scoring reasons, organization, etc.) you can also assign questions to a specific Question Subset. This means that you can have even more specific categories in which to sort questions, within a Question Set. 

NOTE: Entire Subsets cannot be allocated to a specific Evaluation Group, only whole Question Sets can.

Vendor Response Options

You can also ask Vendors to include a response from a pre-defined drop-down menu (ex. fully compliant, partially compliant, non-compliant). Vendor Response Options can accompany or replace a free-form Response Comment. 


Response Comment Options

You can also set a Vendor Response Comment to be required (checkmark), optional (circle) or not allowed(X), based on the Vendor Response Options. 


Imagine for this example: if a Vendor selects fully compliant from the drop-down for that question, they will be prompted to provide a written comment to support their selection. Similarly, if the Vendor selects partially compliant, they will have the option of leaving a comment or not. Lastly, if a Vendor selects non-compliant, they will not be able to leave a comment. 

This is what this type of question would look like, from a Vendor's point of view:


Response Option Score Percentages

If Vendor Response Options are included in a Questionnaire, the responses can be auto-scored (i.e., have an assigned point value to each of the response options, which is a percentage of the total points of the question). This feature is not mandatory when using Response Options but, if used, will allow Bonfire to automatically score those questions. This feature if often really handy with technical specifications, where there is a clear objective way to score a question. In this case the total points a Vendor could earn for this question is 4. If they are fully compliant they will earn 4 points, if partially compliant, only half, and so on. 


Information-Only Questions

Questions can also be set to Info-Only. Info-Only questions are not assigned a point value (i.e. they are assigned 0 points). Info-Only questions are great for informational questions that don't necessarily need to be scored. A great example of an Info-Only question would be asking for a Vendor's headquarters location.

Setting up your Questionnaire

If you feel that your project would benefit from the use of a Questionnaire, click here for instructions on how to create and set it up. 


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