Last Friday we led a workshop at the Support Center for Nonprofit Management on survey design. Every time we offer this particular workshop we come away with an appreciation of how difficult developing a survey can be. What makes survey design challenging is that there are so many elements to juggle. And, complicating matters, successfully dealing with one design problem often creates another one. Tools such as Zoomerang or Survey Monkey make creating an internet survey look easy but the real question is whether your organization can rely on the results to make policy decisions. Maybe, or maybe not.
- Maybe if your response rate was high, maybe not if it wasn’t
- Maybe if your nonrespondents were essentially similar to those who did respond
- Maybe if your respondents understood the questions, maybe not if they didn’t
- Maybe if they answered questions accurately, maybe not if they didn’t
- Maybe if you got a good range of answers, maybe not if everyone said the same thing
You get the idea.
We get loads of questions about how to get the most out of a survey and we’d like to answer some of them in this blog. Over the coming weeks, we’ll use this space to provide some answers. In the meantime, we’ve posted the Powerpoint from the Friday session here. You’ll find our guide to question design here. Feel free to download and distribute according to the license agreement on the first page of both documents. And do send us any questions you may have. We’ll do our best to respond quickly with an answer.