SURVEYS: CREATING EFFECTIVE QUESTIONNAIRES

By Jessica Hahn & Rebecca Suh Data Driven Decision-Making for Schools and Organizations

WHAT IS A SURVEY?
It’s a method of gathering information from a sample of individuals.  Information is collected by means of standardized procedures so that every individual is asked the same questions in more or less the same way.  Survey results are presented in completely anonymous summaries, such as statistical tables and charts.

HOW DO YOU PLAN A SURVEY?
First, lay out the objectives of the investigation.  Next, the mode of collection must be decided upon (mail, phone, in person).  Then, plan a questionnaire.  Locate the members of the population that will be a random participant of the survey.  Next, “plan in” quality by checking in to keep respondent’ mistakes and bias to a minimum.  Finally , determine how much time should be allotted to complete the survey.

QUESTION INTENT
Use legible questions: ask questions that read well and are quick and easy to answer.  Use relevant questions: Make sure that all questions asked are relevant to all respondents and the survey’s purpose.  Use painless questions: Questions asked in your survey should require a small amount of effort to answer.

CONSTRUCTING GOOD VS. BAD QUESTIONS
 Keep

questions brief and ask one question at a time.  Be objective and avoid leading questions, loaded questions, and built in assumptions.  Be simple in both words and phrases.  Be Specific and avoid questions that are too general, too complex or undefined.

QUESTION TYPES
Open Ended Types: Allow respondents to answer in their own words.  Close Ended Types: Yes or no questions or multiple choice questions  Ranked or Ordinal Questions: All the choices listed are ranked according to a level of specification (e.g. level of importance)  Matrix and Rating Types: Used when surveying the frequency of something like behavior or attitude  Balanced vs. Unbalanced-Rating Scales: 5 point rating scale (very poor, poor, average, good, excellent)

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