Surveys: General Considerations

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Some general tips for conducting questionnaire based surveys

  • Surveys should be on site for 1-2 months to be most effective
  • Know your community – where do groups collect? Which listservs are most popular?
  • Try to ensure multiple points of contact – for website based questionnaires (pop-ups etc), also target listservs where potential users might congregate
  • Send out up to 3 reminders. With the first reminder, remember to thank those who participated in the first round, while inviting others to participate (there’s still time!)
  • Make sure you stress that this is academic not market research
  • Check for error messages every day – not picking up quickly on errors can be very damaging

Designing the survey:

  • Decide on the questions first, then upload to the survey software, as doing this the other way around is complicated
  • Create flow diagrams of where the questions should lead
  • Include an (accurate) indication of how long the survey will take – an inaccurate indication can really alienate participants
  • Include a tracking bar to indicate what stage of the survey the participant has reached
  • Make sure the survey can be taken from Macs as well as PCs