Original Research- Survey Writing Research (Ella)

Research/Notes on Survey Writing

Harvard. “Questionnaire Tip Sheet.” Harvard University Program on Survey Research, (n.d.). Electronic. Received from https://psr.iq.harvard.edu/book/questionnaire-design-tip-sheet

  • Keep questionnaire short
  • Closed ended questions are easier for the survey taker to interpret as well as the responses are easier to analyze
  • Providing a middle category yields better data
  • Avoid technical terms and jargon
  • “If You Want a Single Answer, Make Sure Your Answer Choices Are Unique and Include all Possible Responses”

Pew Research Center. “Questionnaire design.” U.S. Survey Research, (n.d.). Electronic. Received from https://www.pewresearch.org/methods/u-s-survey-research/questionnaire-design/

  • Identify topic to write questions about
  • Measuring change over time
  • Open vs close ended questions– close ended preferred
  • Take note of how questions are worded- be clear and specific, make question as specific as possible to remove ambiguity, questions should only be about one concept
  • “One other challenge in developing questionnaires is what is called “social desirability bias.” People have a natural tendency to want to be accepted and liked, and this may lead people to provide inaccurate answers to questions that deal with sensitive subjects” – I have a feeling that this may be a concern for me
  • Order of questions- “order effects”
  • Pretests

Science Buddies. “Designing a Survey.” (n.d.). Electronic. Received from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/how-to-design-a-survey

  • “Survey questionnaires present a set of questions to a subject who with his/her responses will provide data to a researcher.”
  • Keep it short but also capturing all info needed
  • Types of questions: Structured (fixed response), Rating, Ranking, Non structured (open ended), Partially structured/select all that apply
  • Clearly state intentions with survey
  • Include instructions
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Keep questions unbiased
  • Keep organization clean
  • Test it- pretest


  1. Hi Ella, These findings give you a good foundation to start drafting your questionnaire. You will definitely want to have some of this applied to your actual original research this week. Let me know if you need help!


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