Step 1: Identify the objectives of your survey

Before designing your survey it is essential that you first identify your objectives, or the reason why you are conducting the survey. The following questions will help you to clarify your objectives to the survey. Consider and make note of the answers to these questions as you begin to develop your survey:

  • What are you trying to learn from the survey results?
    • Having a clear understanding of the purpose of your survey will help you identify the type of information you must collect in order to meet your objectives.
  • Who is the target population, i.e., who will you be surveying?
    • Identifying the characteristics of your population (e.g., education level, age range) will help you to determine the type of information that you will be able to collect from them. It will also help you to understand what factors, if any, may influence their responses to your questions.
  • Who is your audience, i.e., who will use the information from your survey?
    • Determining the type of information your audience (e.g., decision-makers, the academic community) is looking for will help you to identify the questions that will address their needs.
  • How will the information be used?
    • Understanding the way in which the information you collect will be used also helps to identify what questions to include. For instance, if you need to make comparisons between different groups of people, you must include a question that will help you group them appropriately.


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