Tips for Making an Efficient and Effective Survey
- Look for other sources
- Always check with the Office of Institutional Research to see if the data you need is available from a different source before undertaking a survey.
- Define your objectives
- Make sure that every question you write is necessary for your research question.
- Explain your rationale
- Respondents are more likely to complete your survey if they know the purpose and meaning of the survey.
- Keep it simple
- Make sure your questions are clear and concise.
- Avoid making surveys that are too long
- Respondents are more likely to not complete longer surveys.
- Don’t ask more than one question at once
- Make sure that the question you are asking is one question. For example: “which mac n’ cheese brand is more cheesy and less costly?” It would be more beneficial to split that question into two separate questions.
- Speak your populations’ language
- Use words and terminology that speak to your audience. Try to avoid vague or poorly worded questions. This may result in less useful data.
- Use close-ended questions
- Keep in mind that the data will need to be analyzed after the collection process. Using open-ended questions can cause analysis to be less straight forward and more time-consuming.
- Use mutually exclusive answer options
- Answer options that are not mutually exclusive may confuse respondents and result in inaccurate data. There are exceptions when a "check all that apply" item may be appropriate.
- Avoid biased questions
- Try to avoid descriptive words and phrases that may make your question biased or persuade the respondent to answer the question a certain way.
- Test the survey before sending it
- Send the survey to your friends or colleagues before sending the survey out to the public. This strategy can help you fix any unclear questions or format issues.
- Check the data in your results
- After you have sent the survey to friends or colleagues, review the data of your respondents’ answers. This will verify that the data make sense and capture what you are trying to measure.
The Office of Institutional Research is always available to review and support all surveys. Please contact us!
Sources: Qualtrics- 10 Tips for Making Effective Surveys https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/10-tips-for-building-effective-surveys/ and the Office of Institutional Research at Armstrong State University