Note: It’s often worthwhile to have a survey prepared and administered by a research organization. However, you will still need to work with them on the following steps so that the survey will be most useful.
- Decide what you want to learn from the survey and how you will use the results.
- Decide who should be surveyed. Identify population groups; if they are too large to permit surveying everyone, decide how to obtain a sample. Decide what demographic information is needed to analyze and understand the results.
- Decide on the most appropriate type of survey.
- Decide whether the survey’s answers will be numerical rating, numerical ranking, yes–no, multiple choice or open-ended—or a mixture.
- Brainstorm questions and, for multiple choice, the list of possible answers. Keep in mind what you want to learn, and how you will use the results. Narrow down the list of questions to the absolute minimum that you must have to learn what you need to learn.
- Print the questionnaire or interviewers’ question list.
- Test the survey with a small group. Collect feedback.
- Which questions were confusing?
- Were any questions redundant?
- Were answer choices clear? Were they interpreted as you intended?
- Did respondents want to give feedback about topics that were not included? (Open-ended questions can be an indicator of this.)
- On the average, how long did it take for a respondent to complete the survey?
- For a questionnaire, were there any typos or printing errors?
Also test the process of tabulating and analyzing the results. Is it easy? Do you have all the data you need?
- Revise the survey based on test results.
- Administer the survey.
- Tabulate and analyze the data. Decide how you will follow through. Report results and plans to everyone involved. If a sample was involved, also report and explain the margin of error and confidence level.
ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality . 2004. 15 August 2011 <http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/data-collection-analysis-tools/overview/survey.html>.