- Review the basic research objectives of the study.
- What is at the heart of what you are trying to discover?
- What actions do you want to take as a result of the survey?
- What will the output report look like?
- What charts and graphs will be prepared?
- What information do you need to be assured that action is warranted?
The fifth step in building a survey is to review the sequence of topics to make sure they are unbiased. Do the questions asked first influence or bias the results of the next questions? Sometimes providing too much information, or disclosing the purpose of the study can create bias.
One easy way to do this is to create a table in MS Word or Excel that has three columns:
In column 1, we enter the questions. In column two, we indicate the possible answers and their answer format: open-ended text questions, dichotomous, multiple choice, rank order, scaled, or constant sum (ratio scale). Finally, in column three, we determine the type of analysis (percentages, means and standard deviations, cross tabulations, and statistical tests). Do the question and answer formats provide enough robustness to meet analysis requirements?
The Self-Enrollment Access Code found at the top of the summary report can be used if your organization does not have a customized log-in page. Distribute the code to your users and they can use the code to sign up for an account under your brand. Visit the Access Codes page for more information.
TYPES OF QUESTIONS
Open-ended text questions, dichotomous, multiple choice, rank order, multiple choice matrix, Likert or Semantic Differential scales, constant sum, conjoint, side by side, percentages, frequency counts, means and standard deviations, cross tabulations, and statistical tests (chi-square, t-test, ANOVA, regression, multivariate analysis).
- Write the questions. You will need to write several versions of each question when you are building your survey. Building a great survey and building great questions often require six or more drafts. Select the best one.
- Review the question sequence, looking for any biases and if there is a logical flow.
- Repeat all of the steps above to find any major holes. Are the questions really answered? Are the answers what you really need to know? Have someone review it for you.
- Time the length of the survey. A survey should take less than five to ten minutes. At six questions per minute, and depending on the question difficulty, you are limited to about 30-40 questions. When building a survey, remember that one open-ended text question counts for three multiple choice questions.
- Pretest the survey to 20 or more people. Obtain detailed feedback, and critically look at their responses.
- Do they make sense, or do they have a different frame of reference than you had imagined?
- What were they unsure about?
- Did they have questions?
- Did they have trouble understanding what you wanted?
- Did they take a point of view not covered in your answers or question?