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Receiving Support for Your Surveys

IR can assist you with your survey by:

  • Helping you design your survey questions
  • Helping you set up your survey in Qualtrics
  • Providing you with a contact list of students, faculty, or staff
  • Reviewing your survey invitation email or cover letter
  • Helping you set up a report of your results

Each of these supports is discussed in greater detail below.

Survey Support

Helping you design your survey questions

Ask the following questions:

  • Why am I doing this survey? What do I hope to do or change as a result of this survey? What are my goals?
  • Who will receive my survey? What do I need to know about them?
  • What will I want to say in any report I develop at the end of the survey process? What will it contain? Does my survey include all information that I will need for my report? How will I analyze my responses?

In addition, as you develop the questions that comprise the survey, think of the following:

  • Does this question address one of the survey goals? Is it essential information or simply interesting or nice-to-know?
  • What kind of data will your question elicit? Will the question give you enough information to be helpful? How will you analyze the responses? (Remember that open-ended questions require a different and more intensive kind of analysis to make sense of the responses.)
  • Does my response scale match the question? (Examples: Always-Frequently-Sometimes-Rarely-Never; Excellent-Good-Fair-Poor; Strongly Agree-Agree Somewhat-Neutral-Disagree-Strongly Disagree)
  • Do I have closed questions posing as open-ended questions? (Examples: “Do you think improvements should be made to the facility?” is actually a “yes/no” question. Instead, this question could be “What, if any, improvements should be made to the facility?”)
  • Do I have double-barreled questions? (Examples: Do you favor requiring all new freshmen and transfer students to attend orientation on campus? Instead, this could be split into two items, one for freshmen and one for transfers.)
  • Have I avoided jargon and abbreviations that might be unfamiliar to those taking the survey?
  • Have I asked questions that will require additional work from the respondent?
  • Have I asked questions in a way that are easiest to respond to (e.g., it is easier to remember what happened last week compared to last month or last year)?

As you look at your survey as a whole, think about the following:

  • How long does it take someone to complete it? (You probably don’t want to go beyond 10-15 minutes.)
  • Have I grouped similar items together to make it easier to respond?
  • Do I have page breaks so the respondent doesn’t have to keep scrolling down? Are my directions for completing the survey clear?

At the end of the survey development process, IR recommends that you pilot test your survey with at least a few people to check for understanding, ease of response to the items, and time needed to complete the survey.

Helping you set up your survey in Qualtrics

  • If your survey has departmental or university impact, we may be able to set up your Qualtrics survey for you.
  • If your survey has university impact, we may be able to administer your Qualtrics survey for you.
  • Faculty with individual research agendas are encouraged to set up a Qualtrics account for their own use.
  • Access Qualtrics here. If you do not have a Qualtrics account, request one.

Providing you with a contact list of students, faculty, or staff

  • Surveys of students, faculty, and staff are approved and coordinated through our office in order to ensure that the same people are not repeatedly surveyed.
  • Contact lists cannot be provided to students in most cases.
  • If you plan to submit your study for IRB approval, you should contact IR about your survey beforehand as you may need certain information from IR for your IRB application.
  • You can submit a data request here to start the approval process.

Reviewing your survey invitation email or cover letter

Your email or cover letter requesting that people take your survey is an extremely important part of the process. Your message should cover:

  • Brief overview of the purpose of the survey
  • Why they should take the survey. Include items such as what you have done with results from prior administrations of the survey or what will happen based on these survey results
  • How much time the survey will take
  • Issues of confidentiality or anonymity
  • How results will be reported, including comments
  • Deadline for completing the survey
  • How incentives are handled, if any

Helping You Set Up a Report of Your Results

  • A Qualtrics survey can be set up to provide a summary of the responses. The summary can be set up to export as a report in Word or stored online with a link to the report.
  • If you need more advanced analyses of your survey results and the survey has broad university impact, we may be able to assist with that.