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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Webinar Details

Designing Effective Online Questionnaires

Scott Crawford, MA
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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About This Course:

Any time spent at a social science or survey research related professional conference will convince anyone that with today’s technologies come challenges that are new (and old) to the field of survey research. Not since survey technology initially made the jump from interviewer administered to self-administered have we seen such a rapid change in how surveys are designed and conducted. However, it is also clear that the focus of this change so far has been on the implementation of the survey. Experiments and discussions have revolved around use of logic, screen or page design, interactivity, survey implementation (emails, text messaging, etc.) and other “tech centric” areas. Never before has the medium of delivery provided such flexibility and choice for survey researchers.

What has been lacking in the discussion is the questionnaire itself, especially the content. We are now in a world where data is being collected more commonly through self-administered surveys, from respondents who are multi-tasking like never before, in a world where it is no longer unique to share your opinion with a stranger, using devices with significantly smaller screens and an entirely new way of navigating (fingers and thumbs are taking over keyboards and mice). These changes also require looking at what questions we are asking, when we ask them, and how we ask them. A bad question, no matter how well designed the screen or invitation protocol, will remain a bad question.

This webinar will review what we are learning about data quality from online questionnaires, why the problems that we are finding are not getting any better, and it will propose some specific steps to take to improve questionnaire designs. It will also suggest areas of research to be pursued to better understand the impact of these changes on current and future online questionnaires.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify a new framework for evaluating online questionnaires with an emphasis on what, when and how we ask questions.
  • Learn about key areas where current online questionnaires are failing to provide adequate quality.
  • Identify some key areas where improvements can be made immediately, and a focus for future research.

About the Instructor:

ImageScott Crawford, received an M.A. in applied social research from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of the Pacific. His background includes two decades of experience with Internet related technologies, with over 15 years in the field of survey research. He has been involved in the design, programming, systems development, or administration of several hundred Web-based surveys, as well as numerous mixed-mode, telephone, mail, and face-to-face surveys. He is also a trained focus group, cognitive interview, and usability study lead. His experience includes time working at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center; at a private market research firm; and for the past nine years he has operated his own survey research service business called Survey Sciences Group, LLC. His current research interests include the use of technology in survey research, particularly with how mobile technologies are being used. Crawford has taught short courses on Web-based Survey Implementation and related topics at the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina, the American Association for Public Opinion Research Annual Conference, as well as other locations.