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Designing Quality Survey Questions

Sheila B. Robinson, Ed. D & Kimberly Leonard

Surveys are a popular data collection tool for their ease of use and the promise of reaching large populations with a potentially small investment of time and technical resources. But as survey fatigue grows, evaluators must be increasingly judicious in using surveys and craft richer, more concise, and more targeted questions to yield meaningful data. Successful survey research also requires an understanding of the cognitive processes that respondents employ in answering questions with accuracy and candor. Using rich examples and an interactive approach, the facilitators will demonstrate why survey researchers must engage in a respondent-centered, intentional survey design process in order to craft high quality questions, arguably the most critical element of any survey. Participants in this session will learn about the survey design process through a series of activities, developing an understanding of the cognitive aspects of survey response and question design. In this highly interactive session participants will increase their ability to craft high quality survey questions, and leave with resources to further develop their skills, including a copy of the facilitator’s checklist for crafting quality questions, published in their book.

Learning Outcomes:
Learners will

  1. Why a rigorous, respondent-centered, intentional question design process is key to an effective survey
  2. Cognitive processes involved in answering survey questions and their implications for question design
  3. How to identify common problems with survey questions and ways to address them
  4. How to craft high quality open and closed ended survey questions with appropriate response options
  5. How to employ the facilitators’ checklist to ensure the development of high quality questions.
Facilitator Experience:
Sheila B. Robinson is a veteran professional development provider with 20+ years’ experience designing and facilitating courses for educators, evaluators and other groups on topics including survey design, program evaluation, data visualization, audience engagement, and presentation design. She has been an invited keynote speaker and workshop presenter at regional and statewide conferences has 12+ years’ experience teaching graduate courses in program evaluation, professional development design and evaluation, and data visualization (University of Rochester). She currently travels throughout the US and Canada providing workshops on a variety of topics to educational, non-profit, health, and corporate clients. Sheila has conducted several AEA Coffee Break Webinars and eStudy courses as well as Fall pre-conference workshops, and AEA Summer Institute workshops on survey design, audience engagement, and evaluation planning. Evaluation data from each is available.

Kimberly Leonard has led formal and informal workshops in a number of settings, most recently with large groups of nonprofit organizations who are part of multi-year, cross-site evaluations, but also with groups of evaluators, students, AmeriCorp Volunteers, and academic professionals. Kim has also presented and participated in panel sessions through Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN), the Oregon affiliate of the American Evaluation Association (AEA); she was 2012 President-Elect and the 2013 President of OPEN.

Kim and Sheila facilitated very well attended (well over 100 participants) skill-building sessions on survey design during Evaluation 2014 and 2015, then highly successful pre-conference workshops at Evaluation 2017 and 2018. Sheila facilitated this workshop at Evaluation 2019 as well, again to a full group. Participant feedback from these sessions indicates that the topic remains of great interest, and that attendees appreciate Kim and Sheila’s facilitation style. The facilitators have continually updated materials after each conference in response to participant feedback.

November 17 & 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm (EST)

This workshop is capped at 40 attendees. Once you purchase the workshop you must register for the session. Recordings will be made available to registrants unable to attend sessions live. Recordings will be made available to all registrants for 90 days.