Use the list created in Step 1 to develop
questions that target what your group wants to know. Look
through other surveys designed for communities or groups
similar to the one you want to survey to get ideas of ways
a question can be asked. It can take multiple questions
to get to the answer you are looking for.
close-ended questions instead of open-ended questions
narrows the range of answers, helps avoid un-useful
information and makes it easier to compare your responses
later. However, you can learn a lot from open-ended questions
and often times people will write in something you never
anticipated, letting you learn something extremely important
about the issue or community.
Where do you live? ____________
What neighborhood do you live in? _________________
Which borough is this?
For complex issues you may need to create multiple questions.
Instead of asking:
You could also ask:
Do you get hurt on the job a lot?
Has your employer ever committed the
Check the following injuries that have
occurred while on the job:
to cleaning agents that made it difficult to breathe,
see or hurt your skin
questions are good to use when you don't need specific answers,
you don't want to limit the types of responses, or when
you want information that is testimonial.
People often tire
quickly when taking a survey. To avoid "survey
boredom" it is good to mix up the types of questions
you ask. For example, place true/false questions after a
multiple choice question, etc.
that can be answered with "I don't know"
Do not combine two
questions into one.
Stay away from questions
with multiple answers. (For example: Circle all
that apply) These will be more difficult to work with when
you are analyzing your data.
Adding a "What
else do you want me to know?" is a useful way to end
a section or survey.
to keep the survey as short as possible30 minutes at
most for individual surveys. You will need
to allow more time for interview surveys, but keep in mind
that a respondent may get tired and not complete the interview.
Avoid long introductions. The introduction should be short
and name the organization doing the survey. It should also
include how the information gathered will be used and let
people know it is anonymous and/or confidential.
The First Questions
The first questions will set the tone for the survey. The
person should feel they have information to contribute. By
making the first few questions relatively easy to answer,
you may have a higher success rate of getting surveys completely
The Last Questions
Don't leave the most important questions for the end. Many
surveys never get completely filled out.
Immigration Questions: Develop Trust Up Front
If you must ask questions about immigration status place them
later in the survey. Use the first part of your survey to
develop the trust of the respondent and then place these questions
near the end of the questionnaire.