Survey Design and Administration Best Practices
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Survey Design and Administration Best Practices*
Response rates to online surveys typically range from 30-60%.
Select only classi!cations of students, faculty, sta” or customers that are appropriate for the topic of study (e.g., full-time
vs part-time employees).
Select the smallest sample size that meets your needs. Creative Research Systems provides a sample size calculator.
At the beginning of the survey, provide the audience with clear instructions, the purpose of the survey, an estimated
completion time, assurance that their answers will remain anonymous, and what will be done with the data collected.
When applicable, track which individuals have responded to the survey, and only send reminders to those who have not
yet completed it.
Be respectful of those who do not wish to participate. If someone requests to be removed from follow-up mailings,
Once youve completed building your survey, send it to a few colleagues for testing purposes. Ask them to time how long it
takes to complete the survey and provide feedback on the overall. Check on entries to ensure the answers format will
provide useful data.
Once the survey is complete and the data is collected and analyzed, let the respondents know what youve learned and
what actions youll be taking as a result.
With any research conducted, federal human subject regulations may apply. You should contact the LSU Institutional
Review Board and review any relevant policies before administering your survey.
Tips for Creating Survey Questions/ Items & Survey Design Best Practices
Create a smooth and clear navigation through the survey by providing section headings, clear instructions on how to
proceed through the survey, and how to submit responses.
The !rst questions should engage the respondent and get them into the #ow of the survey. Place demographic questions
at the end to avoid response bias. Earlier questions can a”ect how respondents interpret or respond to later questions.
Group questions that cover similar topics together and use text to introduce each section. Page breaks should be used to
break up longer surveys.
Avoid double-barreled questions. These questions often contain the word and. A survey question should contain only a
single concept so you can de!ne what youre measuring.
Keep your questions and answer choices short, simple and clear. Respondents are less likely to answer if a question is too
long or they do not understand how they should answer.
Avoid jargon, acronyms, technical terms and obscure phrases. Use simple words and speci!c language to create questions
that yield precise answers.
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Avoid leading and loaded questions (e.g., Do you agree that).
It is recommended to use a 5-point Likert scale. The 5 values should be both clear and distinct from each other. The
‘distance’ between the values should be as ‘equal’ as possible.
Avoid using negatives in items (e.g., not, none, never) as well as inde!nite quali!ers (e.g., only, just, merely, many, few, or
For Check all that apply and Select up to three responses questions, keep the list from getting too long (no more than
10 answers is a good guideline). If there is a does not apply answer, this should be listed !rst.
Use other as often as necessary as a possible response, but use discretion when giving the option to describe other
Avoid forced-choice questions. Use options such as dont know and not applicable sparingly, otherwise it gives
respondents an easy way to skip past a question.
Use page condition (branching) questions as sparingly as possible. They can be more di$cult to implement and tend to
make analysis more error prone. However, they allow respondents to skip sections that are not relevant to them.
Include a Thank You statement at the end of the survey.
Additional Resources and Support
LSU Qualtrics website: https://lsu.qualtrics.com/ControlPanel/ (log in using myLSU username and password)
Qualtrics Support & Training: https://www.qualtrics.com/support/
Qualtrics Help Desk: 803-374-6682
Constant Contact – Top 12 Survey Best Practices
Nardi, P. M. (2005). Doing survey research: A guide to quantitative methods. Boston: Pearson.
Oracle – Best Practices for Improving Survey Participation
Wisconsin – Madison Survey Best Practices
*You are welcome to download these guidelines as a PDF. Please see below for the attachment.
Article ID: 17958
Last Updated: 7/21/2021 10:32:30 AM
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