Surveys in practice and theory
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Write better survey questions, run a survey from start to finish, survey tips from the expert survey methodologists. Workshop at JBoye Conference, Aarhus, Denmark, 2011

Write better survey questions, run a survey from start to finish, survey tips from the expert survey methodologists. Workshop at JBoye Conference, Aarhus, Denmark, 2011

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  • Oh, and thank you for slide 8 x
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  • Classic, I love it, and excellent advice, as always.
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  • You suggested it as an example :-) and there was plenty for the workshop to think about.
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  • *laughing* I was looking at this anyway... imagine my surprise/shock/delight when I got to slide 7 !!!!
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Surveys in practice and theory Surveys in practice and theory Presentation Transcript

  • Surveys inpractice and theory2011Caroline JarrettJ.Boye Conference Denmark
  • Introduction and getting started with surveysAgenda Surveys in practice: • Working on questions • A practical survey process Surveys in theory: • What the experts tell us about an ideal process • The four types of survey error • Some tips from the experts on how to avoid error 2
  • Write down your answers to this questionnaire1. How many surveys have you run?NONE 1 to 5 6 to 10 more than 102. What is your top tip for a better survey, based on experience of writing or answering?____________________________________________________________________ 3
  • Now try it as an interview1. How many surveys have you run?NONE 1 to 5 6 to 10 more than 102. What is your top tip for a better survey, based on experience of writing or answering?____________________________________________________________________ 4
  • Now tell each other a story about yourexperience relevant to these questions1. How many surveys have you run?NONE 1 to 5 6 to 10 more than 102. What is your top tip for a better survey, based on experience of writing or answering?____________________________________________________________________ 5
  • Now let‟s share data and stories• What numbers have we collected?• What open answers?• What stories?• Which of the three little surveys was the best? 6
  • Today‟s example arrived in a tweet 7
  • We support the MS Society and want to help• MS = Multiple Sclerosis• Julie Howell – Top PR person and accessibility campaigner – Runs the MS online community „Jooly‟s Joint‟ (since 1995) – Lives with MS 8
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  • Introduction and getting started with surveysAgenda Surveys in practice: • Working on questions • A practical survey process Surveys in theory: • What the experts tell us about an ideal process • The four types of survey error • Some tips from the experts on how to avoid error 11
  • Write good questions• Mix question types: closed and open• Use appropriate, unambiguous language• Avoid leading questions• Present one question at a time• Keep questions concise• Keep positive; negatives are harder to understand  12
  • Any problems with these questionsfrom our example?Level 1 (easier): Find the problemsLevel 2 (harder): Write better questions 13
  • The approximate curve of forgettingPerfectrecall Major life event Unremarkable, repetitive Noticeable, occasionalGone Hour Day Week Month Year 14
  • Anatomy of a range question Statement or Topic question Please rate the importance of ease of use: Very high  Label Quite high  End Categories Neutral points Low  Very low  No answer  Response Other answer / comments “No comment” category
  • Likert had several different typesof question in his scalesLikert, Rensis. (1932). A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes.Archives of Psychology, 140, 1–55. 16
  • You can find an academic paper to support almost any number of points in a range• Krosnick and Presser refer to ~87 papers on rangesKrosnick, J. A. and S. Presser (2009). Question and Questionnaire Design. 17Handbook of Survey Research (2nd Edition) J. D. Wright and P. V. Marsden, Elsevier.
  • Two options that are probably OK Best basic choice: 5 points + “no answer” If you’re sure the user has an opinion: 4 points + comment 18
  • Make the range more useful? 19
  • Introduction and getting started with surveysAgenda Surveys in practice: • Working on questions • A practical survey process Surveys in theory: • What the experts tell us about an ideal process • The four types of survey error • Some tips from the experts on how to avoid error 20
  • A survey ismore thanquestions © Caroline Jarrett and Effortmark Ltd If you use this cartoon in another context, please credit Caroline Jarrett and Effortmark Ltd. 21
  • A basic survey process Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse• Establish • Talk to users • Write • Run the • Analyse the your goals about the questions survey from results for the topics in • Build the approach to survey your survey questionnaire follow-upQuestions Questions you need users can Questionnaire Data Insightanswers to answer 22
  • Goals• Establish your goals for the survey What do you want to know? Why do you want to know? What will you do with the answers? 23
  • Our example: MS Society on diversity.Write a short goal for the survey 24
  • Goals Users • Talk to users about the topics in your survey• Who are they?• How will you find them?• Do they want to answer your questions?• Do they understand your questions? 25
  • Response relies on Users effort, reward, and trust Perceived Perceived effort reward TrustDiagram from Jarrett, C, and Gaffney, G (2008) “Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability”inspired by Dillman, D.A. (2000) “Internet, Mail and Mixed Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method” 26
  • A token incentive worksbetter than no incentiveor a prize draw 27
  • Does your household have accessto running water?Picture credits: James Mooney, Caroline Jarrett 28
  • Our example: MS SocietyWhat does this question mean to you?Any ideas about how to ask it better? 29
  • Goals Users Build • Write questions • Build the questionnaire• Keep to one topic at a time• Start with questions that are interesting• Organize the questions to grab the user‟s attention• Minimize requests for personal information 30
  • Sorting out the topics: group these ones 1. What was your total family income in 2009? 2. Do you like to play golf? 3. What is your opinion on global warming? 4. Are you married? 5. Which political party does the best job of promoting economic growth? 6. How many times have you gone bowling in the last year? 7. What is your political party preference? 8. Do you favour or oppose higher tax on fuel as a measure to reduce environmental pollution? 9. What is your occupation? 10. Please describe your favourite recreational activity. 11. How old are you?Adapted from Dillman, D.A., Smyth, J.D. and Christian, L.M. (2009)Internet, Mail and Mixed Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 31
  • Goals Users Build Deploy • Run the survey from• (Optional pre-notice?) approach to follow-up• Send the survey with token incentive• Send a reminder message (no further incentive)• Send a second copy of the survey• Thank participants 32
  • Our example:Your views about this thank-you page 33
  • Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse • Create summaries and comparisons • Present the results• Tidy up the data• Decide what to do about “item non-response” • Remove the whole entry? • Use the partial entry? • Calculate an “inferred value”? 34
  • Analyse Compile responses $ # answers $250/class-up to 3 classes. $150 for tests-up to 2 0 62 depends upon my employers contribution 50 34 $250? initial, plus $50? each renewal 100 131 150 25 42 200 57 $30 - unless my company agreed to pay it ;-) 250 32 dont know-I would want my emper to pay 300 31 500 84 $300 first time, $100 for renewal 1000 44 Have no basis for comparison. 2000 17 $300 for a 5-year certification 3000 8 5000 7 I cant say-depends entirely on the certification 35
  • Wordle.net example: in favour of Facebook
  • Another: against Facebook
  • Wordle from the UPA survey on certification 38
  • Analyse Publish results - gently• Don‟t surprise people with bad news• Make sure publication is timely• Keep reports short• It‟s OK to have some gaps in the results, “more work needed” 39
  • Introduction and getting started with surveysAgenda Surveys in practice: • Working on questions • A practical survey process Surveys in theory: • What the experts tell us about an ideal process • The four types of survey error • Some tips from the experts on how to avoid error 40
  • A basic survey process Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse• Establish • Talk to users • Write • Run the • Analyse the your goals about the questions survey from results for the topics in • Build the approach to survey your survey questionnaire follow-upQuestions Questions you need users can Questionnaire Data Insightanswers to answer 41
  • A complete process Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse• Establish • Talk to users • Write • Run the • Analyse the your goals about the questions survey from results for the topics in • Build the approach to survey your survey questionnaire follow-up• Decide what • Design your • Usability test • Monitor your • Cross-check you will do sampling • Pilot the response the results based on the strategy survey rate results 42
  • Typically, an expert will focus on just one topic Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse • Write questions • Build the questionnaire • Usability testCouper, M. (2008). “Designing effective Web surveys”. 43Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • Another example: topics discussed by Dillman et al (2008) Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse • Talk to users • Write about the questions topics in • Build the your survey questionnaire • Design your • Usability test • Monitor your sampling • Pilot the response strategy survey rateDillman, D. A., Smyth, J.D., Christian, L. M. (2008) 44Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method
  • A tweet with a survey in it Sunday 5th September 45
  • The results 46
  • There are four types of survey error• Sampling: – Some respondents get left out; the ones left in are somewhat variable• Non-response: – The people who respond are different to the people who do not• Coverage: – Some of the population is not included in the sampling frame• Measurement: – Asking the wrong question, using the wrong techniqueGroves, R.M. (2004) Survey errors and survey costs 47
  • If you have variable data,you will have sampling error Jarrett, C. (2011) “What is a confidence interval and why would I want one?” http://www.uxmatters.com 48
  • Avoid non-response errorwith a better response rate• More respondents means fewer who do not respond: – Less follow-up – Less opportunity for them to share factors in common (but different to the respondents) – Statistical agencies like response rates 50%+• BUT: – A low response rate may be independent of any factor – About 1% of people just like answering questions – Sample representativeness is more important than raw response rate 50%+ 49
  • Dillman recommends mixed-mode surveysto avoid coverage error • Telephone surveys have coverage problems: – Unlisted numbers – „Do not call‟ numbers – Cell phone-only households • Mail surveys have coverage problems: – New delivery points – Shared delivery points• Internet surveys have coverage problems: – People without internet access – No directory of email addresses – Spam filters @ 50
  • Adding steps to avoid coverage, sampling, and non-response error Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse• Establish • Find out • Write • Run the • Analyse the your goals what users questions survey from results for the want to tell • Build the approach to survey you questionnaire follow-up • Design your • Monitor your • Cross-check sampling response rate the results strategy 51
  • Avoid measurement error by being careful• Have clear goals for your survey• Make sure your users want to answer your questions• Keep testing everything, all the time• Make sure that you analyse the data from your pilot 52
  • Adding steps to avoid measurement error Goals Users Build Deploy Analyse• Establish • Find out • Write • Run the • Analyse the your goals what users questions survey from results for the want to tell • Build the approach to survey you questionnaire follow-up• Decide what • Design your • Usability test • Monitor your • Cross-check you will do sampling • Pilot the response rate the results based on the strategy survey results 53
  • Challenging the theory• How many steps are practical?• How much time do you have for a survey?• Which of those things do you really do?• Which might you try? 54
  • Acknowledgement and references• Thanks to Karen Bachmann – Workshop started as one that we presented together in 2002 and 2003• Books on survey design – Dillman, D.A., Smyth, J.D. and Christian, L.M. (2009) Internet, Mail and Mixed Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method • Very practical, informed by many years‟ research. Written in a straightforward style. • The earlier editions (1999 and 2007) are also good and you may be able to get one cheaply second-hand – Gilham, Bill (2008) "Developing a questionnaire" Continuum Books • Thin, clear and practical book that takes you through the survey process. • My edition is the 2000; there is a newer one in 2008 which I‟m sure will be even better – Schuman, H. and Presser, S. (1996) “Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys: Experiments on Question Form, Wording, and Context” • Thorough analysis of all the ways in which questions can be slippery, based on many years‟ research. 55
  • Other references• Krosnick, J. and Presser S. (2009) “Question and Questionnaire Design” in Handbook of Survey Research (2nd Edition) James D. Wright and Peter V. Marsden (Eds). – http://comm.stanford.edu/faculty/krosnick/Handbook%20of%20Survey%20Resea rch.pdf – Literature review, comprehensively referenced• Barnum, C. M. (2011) “Usability Testing Essentials: Ready Set, Test” Morgan Kaufmann – Thorough but approachable book on how to do usability testing• Groves, R. M. (2004) “Survey errors and survey costs” Wiley – More detail about this book here: http://www.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/survey- design/blog/survey_book_of_the_month_may_2/ 56
  • Caroline Jarretttwitter @cjformscaroline.jarrett@effortmark.co.uk 57