Are you planning on conducting a survey as part of your project evaluation?
Here are a few simple rules to follow when developing a survey from the Kellogg Foundation.
- Make the questions short and clear, ideally no more than 20 words. Be sure to give the respondents all the information they will need to answer the questions.
- Avoid questions that have more than one central idea or theme.
- Keep questions relevant to the problem.
- Do not use jargon.Your target population must be able to answer the questions you are asking. If they are not familiar with professional jargon, do not use it.
- Avoid words which are not exact (e.g., generally, usually, average, typically, often, and rarely). If you do use these words, you may get information which is unreliable or not useful.
- Avoid stating questions in the negative.
- Avoid introducing bias. Slanted questions will produce slanted results.
- Make sure the answer to one question relates smoothly to the next. For example, if necessary add “if yes…did you?” or “if no…did you?”
- Give exact instructions to the respondent on how to record answers. For example, explain exactly where to write the answers: check a box, circle a number, etc.
- Provide response alternatives. For example, include the response “other” for answers that don’t fit elsewhere.
- Make the questionnaire attractive. Plan its format carefully using subheadings, spaces, etc. Make the survey look easy for a respondent to complete. An unusually long questionnaire may alarm respondents.
- Decide beforehand how the answers will be recorded and analyzed.
Want to know more? Take a look at the entire W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook.