What do you really want to know? What would be interesting to know? What can you forget about?Thought_Bubble_1

When you sit down to write survey questions, keep these questions in mind.

  • What do you really want to know?

You are doing an evaluation of the impact of your program. This particular project is peripherally related to two other projects you do. You think, “I could capture all projects with just a few more questions.” You are tempted to lump them all together. DON’T.

Keep your survey focused. Keep your questions specific. Keep it simple.


  • What would be interesting to know?

survey images 4There are many times where I’ve heard investigators and evaluators say something like, “That would be really interesting to see if abc or qrs happens.” Do you really need to know this?  Probably not.  Interesting is not a compelling reason to include a question. So–DON’T ASK.

I always ask the principal investigator, “Is this information necessary or just nice to know?  Do you want to report that finding? Will the answer to that question REALLY add to the measure of impact you are so arduously trying to capture? If the answer is probably not, DON’T ASK.

Keep your survey focused. Keep your questions specific. Keep it simple.

  • What can you forget about?

Do you really want to know the marital status of your participants? Or if possible participants are volunteers in some other program, school teachers,  and students all at the same time? My guess is that this will not affect the overall outcome of the project, nor its impact. If not, FORGET IT!

Keep your survey focused. Keep your questions specific. Keep it simple.survey image

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