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Engineering LibreTexts

7.2: Surveys

  • Page ID
    57138
  • Survey: also known as questionnaire is a document that contain a standard list of questions that can be sent to many individual to measure a number of variables for a group of people at a certain point in time.

    A typical survey form will have at the beginning the title, the name and the telephone number of the analyst, a short description of the purpose, how and where to submit the survey form, the due date to complete the survey, the survey questions and the end a statement to thanks the participants.

    Should participants sign their name while complete the survey or not? The issue of anonymity depend on two things. First, does the evaluator need to know who the participants are in order to correlate the information? Second, does the questionnaire contain sensitive and controversial information? Individuals do not want to be identify when answering questions that might negatively impact them. For example, "how well did you instructors explain the course?" In this case anonymous responses might ensure accurate information.

    Some ideas to keep in mind when creating a questionnaire that will help collect the right data:

    • Give clear instructions that will answer and anticipate questions
    • Simplify the language used on your questionnaires
    • Organize your questionnaire in logical order from simple to complex questions
    • Avoid using questions that will lead to expected answers
    • Limit Open-ended questions
    • Do not use questions that will negatively affect the participant career, or other issues, especially if the survey is not anonymous.
    • Provide a space at the end for general statement and opinions.
    • Test the questionnaire on a small group before distributing to a large group.

    One point in time: the survey’s “snapshot” of one particular moment. Because surveys measure things that vary, the results of any one survey are good only for that one point in time. We could ask you your opinion about a controversial issue today and you might tell us how you truly feel about it. But something could happen tomorrow in your personal world or the world at large that could utterly change your opinion about that same topic. For this reason, surveys cannot be used to predict anything – it is scientifically invalid for someone to use the results of any poll or survey to predict the outcome of any activity whatsoever. Despite the fact that you will run across reports all the time that appear to be predicting the outcome of an election or the likelihood of one thing or another based on survey results, there is absolutely no validity in those predictions.

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