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Chapter 13 . Survey Designs. Key Ideas. Intent and use of survey research Types of survey designs Key characteristics of a survey Constructing survey questionnaires Designing and conducting survey interviews What are the steps in the process of conducting survey research?

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Chapter 13

Survey Designs

Power Point Slides by Ronald J. Shope in collaboration with John W. Creswell

Key Ideas

  • Intent and use of survey research

  • Types of survey designs

  • Key characteristics of a survey

  • Constructing survey questionnaires

  • Designing and conducting survey interviews

  • What are the steps in the process of conducting survey research?

  • How do you evaluate survey research?

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

What is survey research?

  • Survey research designs are procedures in quantitative research in which investigators administer a survey to a sample or to the entire population of people in order to describe the attitudes, opinions, behaviors, or characteristics of the population.

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

When do you use a survey?

  • Assess trends

  • Opinions, beliefs, and attitudes

  • Follow-up analyses

  • Evaluations

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

How did survey research develop?

  • 1817 International Survey of Education Systems

  • 1890 Stanley Hall survey of children

  • 1907 the Pittsburgh Survey examined social problems

  • WWI and WWII sampling techniques improved

  • Applications began to vary from social science to media

  • Universities established social science research centers

  • Private organizations such as Gallup, Rand Corporation, and Roper formed

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Time of Data Collection

Study Over Time

Study at One Point in Time




in a


group identified

by a common


over time

Trends in

the same


over time


in the



over time















What are the types of survey designs?

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

What are key characteristics of survey research?

  • Sampling from a population

  • Collecting data through questionnaires or interviews

  • Designing instruments for data collection

  • Obtaining a high response rate

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Population, Target Population, Sampling Frame, Sample

The Population

The group of individuals having one characteristic that distinguishes them from other groups.

The Target Population or Sampling Frame

The actual list of sampling units from which the sample is selected.

The Sample

The group of participants in a study selected

from the target population from which the

researcher generalizes to the target population.

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Reducing error in survey research

  • Reducing Coverage Error: have a good sampling frame list on which to select individuals

  • Reducing Sampling Error: select as large a sample from the population as possible

  • Reducing Measurement Error: use a good instrument with clear, unambiguous questions and response options

  • Reducing non-response error: use rigorous administration procedures to achieve as large a return rate as possible

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Forms of data collection based on who completes or records the data

Who Completes or Records the Data?







To a


One on






Focus Group




Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Aspects of survey instrument design

  • Personal

  • Attitudinal

  • Behavioral

  • Sensitive

  • Scale

  • Open-ended

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Question construction problems

  • Question is unclear

  • Multiple questions

  • Question is wordy

  • Question is negatively worded

  • Overlapping responses

  • Unbalanced response options

  • Mismatch between questions and answers

  • Question includes overly technical language

  • Not all questions are applicable to all the participants

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Pilot testing

  • Test on a small number of individuals in the sample

  • Ask for written feedback on the questions

  • Revise the survey based on the written comments

  • Exclude the pilot participants from the final sample for the study

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Response rate

  • Mail out original questionnaire with cover letter

  • Follow it in two weeks with a second mailing of questionnaire to those who have not responded

  • Follow again in two weeks with a postcard to non-respondents reminding them to complete the questionnaire

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Three phase survey administration procedure

Step 2:

Second Mailing

of Survey

Step 3:



Step 1:

First Mailing

of Survey

2 Weeks

2 Weeks

2 Weeks

6 Weeks



Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Planning and conducting a mailed questionnaire survey

  • Write a cover letter to invite the participants to complete the questionnaire

  • Form and construct the questionnaire

  • Identify what statistical procedures will be used to analyze data from the mailed questionnaire

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Planning and designing an interview survey

  • The interviewer should maintain a neutral stance during the interview

  • Train the interviewers prior to the interview

  • Take good notes of responses or use a tape recorder

  • For telephone interviews, develop a telephone interview guide prior to the interview

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Steps in conducting survey research

  • Decide if a survey is the best deign to use

  • Identify the research questions or hypotheses

  • Identify the population, the sampling frame and the sample

  • Determine the survey design and data collection procedures

  • Develop or locate an instrument

  • Administer the instrument

  • Analyze the data to address the research questions or hypotheses

  • Write the report

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Evaluating survey research

  • Was the target population or sampling frame clearly specified?

  • Was the sampling procedure specified? If a random sample was not used, were modifications from it explained?

  • Was the sample clearly identified and the basis on which it was chosen specified?

  • Did the type of survey match the questions or hypotheses advanced by the author?

  • Was it clear whether a questionnaire or an interview survey comprised the form of data collection? Did the researcher identify the basis for selecting or developing the instrument?

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Evaluating survey research

  • Was information reported on reliability and validity of scores from past use of the questionnaire or interview?

  • Did the author mention the dates on which the questionnaire or interview was administered?

  • Were the administration procedures clearly identified?

  • If a questionnaire was used, were the procedures for obtaining responses identified? Were follow-up procedures used to ensure a high response rate?

  • Did the data analysis match the research questions or hypothesis to be answered in the study?

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

Evaluating survey research

  • If an interview was used, were the field procedures for collecting this information specified? Were demographic characteristics, previous experience, training, and monitoring discussed for the interviewer(s)?

  • Did the researcher check on the reliability and validity of scores from the data collection in the study?

  • Was the study written scientifically and ethically?

Educational Research 2e: Creswell

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