Large Survey Process Steps 1-3

Step 1. What do you hope to learn from your survey?

What important things are you trying to learn from your survey? Are you evaluating whether your program, policy, or practice was effective? Determining programs, policies, or practices are needed? Taking inventory of people’s experiences, skills, or program use? Gathering some baseline data?

Why do we ask this question on the Large Survey Request Form?

We review surveys’ content to help us coordinate projects with similar content. We can also put you in touch with people who may already have the data you need.

After some basic contact questions, one of the Large Survey Request Form’s first questions is about your survey’s purpose.
Tips for Best Practice

You can think about your survey project as research: you’re trying to learn about a topic. Research questions can help you stay focused on your learning goals.

Much like selling under the guise of research isn’t helpful, the best research questions are unbiased.

  • Biased: I want to prove that my program will raise the first-year retention rate.
  • Unbiased: I want to evaluate whether my program will raise the first-year retention rate.

Your research question tells you what is important about your survey, including the direction your project takes: the data you gather, the analyses you conduct, the reporting you do, and more.

The reverse is not true. You cannot conduct a survey and expect it to tell you what is important. There are too many variables that can be combined in too many ways. Take a peek at spurious correlations to see why data without research questions aren’t informative.

Your research questions determine your direction, not the survey.

Step 2. How will you share your results?

Sharing your results tells your survey participants that you valued their time and you plan to do something with their responses. One reason fewer people are participating in surveys is that they feel like their survey responses don’t matter. By sharing your results, you encourage people to participate in future surveys.

Sharing your survey results also helps other faculty and staff on campus learn about your findings. Your survey results could save someone else a lot of time and energy!

Why do we ask this question on the Large Survey Request Form?

Because sharing your survey results is so important, we want you to create plans for sharing your results early in the development of your project.

The next question in the Large Survey Request Form will ask you to describe your plans for sharing your survey results.
Tips for best practice

Tell your participants when and where you plan to share your results in your advertising materials and survey invitation emails.

Set deadlines to keep yourself accountable.

Sometimes you can’t distribute your survey results broadly because the results might identify participants or violate privacy laws or cause other harmful side effects. When you know you will not distribute your survey results, let your participants know in the invitation materials you send them.

Step 3. Who do you want to survey?

In this question, the Large Survey Request Form asks you which group of people you would like to survey. The groups are identified by their roles: faculty, staff, and/or students.

Why do we ask this question on the Large Survey Request Form?

Knowing who you want to survey helps us ensure that any group of people is only being invited to one large survey at a time.

This information also helps us refer you to the correct department for securing the directory information (e.g., names and email addresses) you will need to conduct your survey.

The Large Survey Request Form’s population question is multiple choice.
Tips for best practice

Take a look at the Large Survey Dashboard (you will be prompted to sign in with your Wake credentials). This dashboard reports response rates, incentive use (e.g., gift cards or coupons), and frequency of past surveys. This tool helps you think about what response rates you might expect and whether or not you want to use incentives.

Questions? Contact us at