Quick Guidelines for Making Your Survey Design Cleaner

Written by PortMA

Quick Guidelines for Making Your Survey Design Cleaner

http://beamsandbobbins.co.uk/product/spiritboard-key-tidy Personally, I find that survey data becomes burdensome somewhere around the 20th question. That applies to both paper and online surveys, though for different reasons. The first steps to making these large datasets manageable start all the way back to programming and setting up the survey. In this post, I’ll discuss four survey design guidelines that help you receive data in an organized fashion.

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The first fix is for designing a survey online. Find every open-ended field where consumers enter a number (year of birth being the most frequent). Make sure you set restrictions on that field so your results are conforming.

By setting a requirement that the “year of birth” field be exactly four digits, you prevent people from entering their age instead. This survey design guideline helps you to avoid the hassle of trying to clean a list of two-digit birth dates or having to delete large amounts of data because you can’t discern whether it is an age or a year.

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It’s important to create a unique ID that associated paper surveys with the paper result. This allows you to compare your entered result to the actual document, letting you check for transcription errors.

You can help yourself further by making that unique identifier something relevant to the data. I’ve found by making my identifier either the date the survey was entered, or the date the survey was completed plus a letter (e.g. 0614a, 0614b, etc.) I can easily find the paper survey associated with any result.

Guiding readers through the survey

Include instructional text in every question where it is relevant. While this does get tedious, it reinforces good habits in your ethnographer and makes sure that at no point is a multi-select mistaken for a single-select question or vice-verse. This survey design guideline is particularly important for paper surveys.

Requiring an appropriate number of pages

Finally, make sure you condense a paper survey design to a singular page. Having a second page doubles the number of pages you receive and increases the possibility of lost data in the event the pages become separated. Should the pages arrive loose-leaf, all of your results could be invalidated if the pages become separated.

With one-page surveys a stack of papers being knocked over is annoying. With multi-page surveys, it could ruin an entire project.

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