What's New

Feb 142012

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Avoid questions that have more than one central idea or theme.
  3. Keep questions relevant to the problem.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Avoid stating questions in the negative.
  7. Avoid introducing bias. Slanted questions will produce slanted results.
  8. 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?”
  9. 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.
  10. Provide response alternatives. For example, include the response “other” for answers that don’t fit elsewhere.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.