Survey design/Before designing a survey

It can be very tempting to press ahead with designing a survey. But first, be clear about the purpose of the study and the research methodology.

Designing a survey? Don't put the cart before the horse. Develop a proposal first, then design the survey.

Before designing a survey, develop a research proposal which clearly explains the:

  1. research purpose
  2. research questions
  3. hypotheses
  4. Research design: Experimental, quasi-experimental, non-experimental
  5. Sampling method
  6. Target constructs - operationally define the:
    1. independent variables
    2. dependent variables

Have the research proposal peer reviewed and modify as appropriate. Before designing a survey, it is helpful, and generally recommended, to clearly establish a research proposal and to get this proposal peer-reviewed (and/or reviewed by a supervisor). Investment in developing the proposal is generally returned many-fold.

The seven Ps apply to survey design: Prior preparation and planning prevents piss-poor performance.

Poor research results and conclusions emerge from poor data, which is often due to poor survey design. Hence, a well-conducted survey research project should exhibit:

  • clarity in the project's purposes (and specific research questions and hypotheses)
  • careful development of well-worded questions with appropriate response formats and/or
  • a well designed and implemented sampling method