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Survey Methods & Advice

The following advice has been collected from a number of definitive "Survey Development" books (provided below):

Essential steps for designing your survey:

  • While designing your survey:
    • Who/what are you surveying?
    • What is your survey topic?
    • What exactly are the research questions that you are trying to answer?
    • What is your overall implementation plan?
    • How many contacts do you plan to make?
    • Will your survey be personalised to respondents?
    • Will you be collecting group/point estimate figures or precise/complex ones?
    • Which variables will be your primary ones in your research? Which ones will be secondary?
    • Are you concerned with sub-group estimates?
    • What is your data analysis plan?
    • What will your data tables look like?
    • If you have multiple goals, what are their priorities?
  • While creating your survey:
    • Identify your target population - What kind of information do you need?
    • Find or use a sampling frame that lists your population.
    • Choose a sample design:
      • Ensure your design precisely describes how your population members will be chosen.
    • Create an estimation plan:
      • Computes values of the population parameters from your sample estimates.
    • Choose a data collection method.
    • Specify detailed data collection procedures to ensure quality in your data.
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Survey creation:

  • Survey Cover Letter - Surveys should, at least, include a single page cover letter that contains:
    • A clear and noticeable survey title.
    • The dates that your survey is active.
    • A short description of your survey and its purpose.
    • Why your survey is important.
    • A privacy statement.
    • An additional ethics compliance statement or disclaimer (if applicable).
    • The name and contact details for your project team.
  • Writing survey questions - While writing survey questions:
    • Use simple words.
    • Do not be vague.
    • Keep it short.
    • Be specific.
    • Do not talk down to your respondents.
    • Avoid bias.
    • Avoid objectional questions.
    • Avoid hypothetical questions.
    • Consider offering incentives to respondents.
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References and Recommended Texts

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