Conducting Surveys

Types of Questions

  • Closed ended – Participants choose, among a list of possible choices, the response option that best reflects their opinions.
  • Open ended – Participants are not given a list of response options, but rather are asked to answer the question in their own words.
  • Combination of closed and open-ended (e.g., provide an “other” option which participants can define).

Types of Response Options for Close Ended Survey Questions

  • Dichotomous (e.g., yes – no )
  • Multiple Choice – Choose one response option (e.g., How would you characterize your political views?)
  • Multiple Choice – Select multiple responses (e.g., Select all the factors you consider when choosing a college)
  • PDF Document: Likert Rating Scale (e.g., Participants are asked to indicate their level of agreement with a statement on a defined scale)
  • Ranking (e.g., Rank in order of importance the factors that influenced your decision to attend this college)

Advantages to Using Surveys

  • Easy to administer and can be administered remotely (mail, e-mail, telephone)
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Can reach a large number of people in a short amount of time
  • Typically yield quantitative data that is easy to analyze
  • Can cover a variety of topics in a brief amount of time
  • Candid responses

Disadvantages to Using Surveys

  • Response options may not capture participants’ true opinions
  • Respondent usually cannot provide clarification
  • May suffer from low response rates