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Survey Design Basics

Proofread, Preview, and Pilot the Survey

This the last crucial step before launching the survey. You want the survey to be error-free, nicely formatted and ideally tested through a pilot study.

  • Check for:
    • Typos;
    • Complexity;
    • Assumptions;
    • Biased wording;
    • Double negatives;
    • Unclearness;
    • Inappropriate wording for audience.
  • Format well:
    • Create a smooth layout with clear instructions.
    • Make sure survey goals are consistent with research goals.
      • Are all the variables of interest accounted for in the survey design?
      • Is every question necessary?
    • Avoid questions having certain answers filled in as it may provide unnecessary skew.
    • Check for internet browser compatibility for web-based surveys.
  • Test it!
    • Allows researcher to uncover “hidden” opinions in the population of interest.
    • Helps determine strength of the survey, if more questions are needed, if any questions are unnecessary or unclear.
    • Mock analysis conducted with preliminary data can be useful in finding holes in research.
  • Field testing steps:
    1. ​​Talk to people in population of interest to get a feel for opinions on the topic.
    2. Create the survey according to guidelines.
    3. Administer survey to a handful of people in population of interest.
    4. Analyze the data to determine if there are gaps in research goals.
    5. Redesign survey elements if appropriate.