Friday, May 08, 2009

How to write a good survey

People frequently send me draft surveys for feedback, needs assessment, evaluation, etc. and ask for help in improving them. I'm happy to help. But I almost always need to ask them this:

"Before I can do anything, I need to know what choices you hope to illuminate with people's responses to your form. Such a choice might be 'what, if anything, should we do about X?' or 'should we do A or should we do B?'

If the form is well-constructed, once the answers are in, authors should be able to explain to respondents how their answers to EVERY question helped crystallize some action. Ideally, an author should never need to confess, 'We only asked question 7 because we were curious; we had no plans to actually use your answers.'

Without a picture of the survey's purpose, it's impossible to see what's missing, or to assess whether the draft questions are an efficient way to help make those choices.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?