EQLS 2012 - Questionnaire

A high quality questionnaire is a key element of a successful survey. Eurofound invests considerably in the development of its questionnaires. The 3rd European Quality of Life Survey questionnaire includes questions from previous rounds, where possible and relevant, to enable analysis of trends over time. In addition, new concepts are integrated to reflect new and emerging areas of interest. The questionnaire underwent detailed preparation inhouse and was developed in close collaboration with an expert group.

Questionnaire development

The 3rd European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) questionnaire underwent detailed preparation in-house and was developed in consultation with Eurofound stakeholders, policy experts and quality of life researchers, including representatives from the European Commission, OECD, and the New Economics Foundation. Approximately half of the questions in the 3rd EQLS questionnaire are identical to the previous survey to allow reporting changes over time and enable trend analysis. In addition, new concepts have been integrated to reflect new and emerging areas of interest. New items in the 3rd EQLS include measures on work-life balance, negative affect, community participation, attitudes towards migrants and public services. A glossary was developed to aid the translation, train the field-force and aid use of the questionnaire.

Pretest and piloting

A draft version of the questionnaire was pre-tested in in French in Belgium and English in the United Kingdom via the means of 60 field interviews and 30 cognitive interviews. This pre-test was used to check whether the questionnaire was easy to understand, to improve the sequence of questions, filters and instructions for interviewers, and to measure the length of an interview. The final source questionnaire was developed by Eurofound based on the findings of the pre-test. After finalising the source questionnaire in English and translating it, pilot interviews were carried out in each country to ensure that interviews ran smoothly in all languages.


The EQLS asks the same questions in all countries; therefore it is crucial to ensure that the quality of the language versions is high so that the survey results can be comparable.  Eurofound’s detailed translation process reflects the importance it accords to this aspect of the survey.

The process included a review of the language versions of the previously used questions and translation of new items. Only qualified translators were employed in the process. For translating new items:

  • two independent translations from the English source questionnaire were prepared
  • these versions were processed into one draft version by a third person
  • this version was translated back into English and reviewed and commented on by the fieldwork coordination team
  • as a final stage, translations were proof-read and validated by Eurofound staff and national survey experts

The questionnaire is available in 25 languages; for languages used in more than one country, country specific versions were produced, adapting the questionnaires to country background. Altogether, 38 unique language versions of the EQLS 2011 questionnaire were used in the survey, including key minority languages of the surveyed countries.

All language versions of the questionnaire are available for download. A report on the translation process is available.