Questions upon questions

I am teaching an online course on Library Surveys for Success soon. Here are some questions to be considered when writing survey questions (echo alert).

After designing your survey take a second look and think about the following:

Survey design

  • Did you give clear instructions?
  • Are demographic questions asked that are useful to your project?
  • Is the survey brief? (Less than 10-15 minutes to complete)
  • Does the survey look professional and esthetically pleasing?
  • Does the survey describe how the results will directly affect them? (EX: Improving services)

Questions

  • Are the questions consistent with your survey goals?
  • Do the questions use simple and clear wording?
  • Are positive adjectives or phrases used?
  • Do the questions ask for only “need to know” and not “nice to know” information?
  • Does the question lead to a particular response? (Is it a leading question?)
  • Is potentially offensive language used? (For example, sexist or racist wording)
  • Do any questions contain technical terms or jargon?
  • Have you used double negatives?

Responses

  • What will be the value of a response? If 95% say, “Yes,” would this affect decision-making?
  • Might the question prompt a vague answer? Make sure you ask directly for the information.
  • Will respondents have the information they need to answer the question?
  • If a scale is used for responses, is it balanced (for example, 1 to 5, with 3 being neutral)?
  • If responses are provided, are they mutually exclusive?

Running your survey

  • Did you do a pre-test before sending the survey out?
  • Are you sure you’re reaching your target audience?
  • Did you provide an end date?
  • Do you plan to keep the survey live for a couple of days after the end date?

Published by

Colleen Eggett

Colleen Eggett is the Library Resources Program Manager for the Utah State Library in Salt Lake City UT.