Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Survey Design: Start Here

This guide is for librarians interested in conducting research or assessment through surveys.

Ask Me

Kevin Walker's picture
Kevin Walker
Contact:
Kevin W. Walker, Ph.D.
Head of Assessment & Govt. Information

The University of Alabama Libraries
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0266
205-348-1357
Subjects:Data Services

Survey Design Basics

1. Identify your research questions. 

  • What do you want to find out? 
  • Why is it important to investigate?
  • You should only have a few questions per project. 

2. Identify the population of interest.

  • What group or groups are you interested in?
  • What demographic groups may have differences within your population?
  • How will you reach your participants?

3. Identify the variables in your research.

  • What background information do you have?
  • Its useful to create a concept map to show relationships.

4. Create an instrument for data collection.

  • Include an introduction for participants
  • Avoid asking about multiple concepts in one question
  • Avoid leading questions
  • Do not overlap options
  • Response (Likert) scales should be balanced
  • Provide a neutral option
  • Include limited open ended questions
  • Thank the respondent and provide contact information

5. Test your survey instrument‚Äč

  • Do participants understand the questions?
  • How long does it take?