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Tips: Writing Survey Questions for Data Collection

May 19, 2021 | by Priyam Chawla

A Guide for Writing Survey Questions for Data Collection

This blog shall start by stating the obvious – data is pervasive and paramount. Speaking of impact projects, the significance of data comes into play right from the very beginning. Data collection helps in understanding the needs & issues faced by the stakeholders and also aids in identifying stakeholders, getting their timely feedback, setting goals and facilitating the process of impact measurement. 

Data collection is at the heart of impact measurement. An impact organization can choose from a range of data collection methods or decide to utilize a mix that best provides the most accurate answers to a bouquet of evaluation queries.

Surveys, interviews, case studies are some of the most common methods deployed for data collection. In this blog, we will delve deeper into surveys as a mode of impact data collection and ways to frame pertinent questions that would prompt meaningful, useful data for your project.

Surveys are a good place to start your data collection drive. This medium proves useful for the accumulation of both quantitative and qualitative data. Surveys provide data that is easy to analyze and can be utilized for a ‘before and after’ comparative analysis. They reach large volumes of people, and the best part – the respondents can choose to answer anonymously.    

Impact data collection

Before we go on to deconstruct the process of using surveys for impact data collection, here is a vital piece of information – before initiating the process of data collection for your impact project, make sure to cover all possible ‘aspects’ of your Theory of Change

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Theory of Change elements

Simply put, make sure you cover the following areas for effective and robust impact measurement. These would serve as the foundation of your data collection exercise. 

MUST

  • The output of your activities
  • The short-term, mid-term or long-term outcomes created as a result of outputs

GOOD TO HAVE

  • The long-term impact created, if your time & resources allow
  • How long did the outcome/impact last? 

Tip: Collect data for outcomes and not just the outputs as the former shows the change brought about by the activities. 

Once you have worked on the various parts of the Theory of Change that you would want to measure and gather data on, begin by working on survey questions targeting each of those parts.

You could fall back on existing questionnaires designed by professionals or previously used by similar projects. However, depending on the area of your operation and the complexities involved in your impact project, you may want to design your survey or use a combination of both.

Tip: Using existing questionnaires may save you time. These are often designed to ensure high-quality data and can also allow a comparison of your results with other similar projects, services or initiatives. However, one size may not always fit all, therefore, these questionnaires may solve some bit of your purpose but they weren’t designed keeping the specifics of your project in mind. 

This brings us to talk about ways through which you can formulate survey questions. 

Formulating questions for your survey

For better understanding, we shall list a few examples of survey questions around parts of the Theory of Change.

Most important question is to understand what was the outcome(s) driven by the organization’s activities. The result of those activities on stakeholders, the public, the planet, among others involved. In this case, the types of survey questions that can be formulated can prompt the respondent to answer what change did the activities or the outcomes bring about in their life. You should ideally try to formulate just one question for one outcome goal. 

  • How many people could receive the same amount of food portion to meet their standard food consumption as before COVID19? 

Writing survey questions: Things to remember

Once you get on to preparing survey questions for impact data collection, you can choose to include ‘closed’ or ‘open’ questions. ‘Closed questions’ fetch quantitative data and involve the respondents choosing from a list of options or have them rank them, etc. ‘Open questions’, on the other hand, are more free-flowing, interactive and provide qualitative detailed data and insights. Keep the following tips handy while preparing your survey questionnaire:

  • Keep it crisp, simple, short and focused
  • Make it easy to understand and non-complex
  • Avoid using jargons or technical language 
  • Encourage specific answers to queries 
  • Ask one thing at a time to avoid confusing respondents  
  • Avoid digressing from the objectives of your survey

Surveys can be conducted in several ways – online, on paper, in-person or telephonic. Choose the desired medium or a combination of methods that would suit your requirement and best serve the purpose of data collection for your impact project.

Survey creation with Artemis Impact

The Artemis Impact App allows you to create multiple survey questions for your impact measurement project and easily share them with your data collection team. Once they fill in a survey, you will be able to see and analyze the data in real-time. The survey link can be shared via WhatsApp, email, Artemis App or through any other mode of communication. 

With Artemis App you can create a survey and:

  • Monitor and evaluate the progress of your ongoing projects
  • Streamline the process of data collection and aggregation
  • Get access to real-time data 

The app lets you add your questions or choose from the suggested questions based on your survey title and project category. 

Choose from a range of question formats 

These include a short answer-type format, a radio button option, a checkbox format to a rating, and a linear scale that let your respondents register their choices on a scale of 5 stars and from 1-5, respectively. 

You can learn more about the drill behind designing and conducting surveys for impact measurement from scratch from some of our previously published blogs. You can also learn how to create surveys with the help of the Artemis Impact app.

Read also:

How To Design Surveys For Impact Measurement?

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