Surveys and questionnaire design

Introductory articles

  • Basic considerations when designing a questionnaire
    To design a good questionnaire, a number of considerations must be kept in mind: Does it provide the necessary decision-making information for management and does it consider the respondent?

  • Survey design
    An article intended primarily for those who are new to survey research. It discusses options and provides suggestions on how to design and conduct a successful survey project.

  • Questionnaire design
    Questionnaires are an inexpensive way to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents. Often they are the only feasible way to reach a number of reviewers large enough to allow statistically analysis of the results. A well-designed questionnaire that is used effectively can gather information on both the overall performance of the test system as well as information on specific components of the system. If the questionnaire includes demographic questions on the participants, they can be used to correlate performance and satisfaction with the test system among different groups of users.

  • Questionnaires in usability engineering - an FAQ
    Over the years, I have seen many questions asked about the use of questionnaires in usability engineering. The list on this page is a compilation of the questions I have heard most often and the answers I gave, should have given, or would have given if I had thought of it first.

Discussion articles

  • Creating effective online surveys: owning Photoshop doesn't make you an artist
    In recent years, a number of powerful survey tools have emerged on the web. Some of these tools make it easy to post very sophisticated surveys and collect data on the web. You can literally implement a survey in a few minutes. It is easy to forget, in this domain of apparently instantaneous productivity, that there is an entire field of knowledge that supports the design of effective and meaningful survey data collection. As with Photoshop, the power of the tool distracts us from the essence of the task.

  • Keep online surveys short
    To ensure high response rates and avoid misleading survey results, keep your surveys short and ensure that your questions are well written and easy to answer.

  • Methods and guidelines to avoid common questionnaire bloopers
    Over the years, I've often heard colleagues say "let's throw a questionnaire together and find out what our users think about our product". Implicit in this statement is the assumption that questionnaires are easy to design, administer, and analyse. This assumption is far from the truth.

  • Questionnaire design and surveys sampling
    The contents of this site are aimed at students who need to perform basic statistical analyses on data from sample surveys, especially those in marketing science.

  • The role of online surveys in the usability assessment process
    I have attended several conferences at which I witnessed a growing debate over the role of survey work in the field of usability. Some practitioners are of the opinion that 'usability is usability' and 'surveys are surveys', and only rarely do the two meet in a harmonious exchange. The more I have considered this viewpoint, the more convinced I am that it is probably valid, unless the usability specialist takes the lead in assimilating survey output into the process of evaluating the overall effectiveness of websites and online applications.

  • Survey response rates. 2% is not good enough
    "2% is a terrible response rate. Why? Because there's such a big chance that the people who filled in the survey are different from the people who didn't. I take the view that if our respondents are only 2% of our sample then we already know that they are very unusual. The chances that they are unusual in many different ways are high."
    (Caroline Jarrett)

  • Web-based surveys: changing the survey process
    What are the challenges and pitfalls of web surveying? This article describes the three types of surveys that can be conducted on the web, assessing their advantages and disadvantages.

Resource collections

  • Questionnaires
    An extensive collection of resources related to the design and use of questionnaires.