Survey Design, Development, & Analysis

Learn how to write, design, and analyze a truly effective research survey.

Did you know that effective surveys are written at a 6th grade level? 

Survey development is a true skill, and a poorly designed survey can throw even the best research projects off course. That’s why Advance-CTR offers complimentary services for survey development to Rhode Island investigators. 

Dr. Fava [the service provider] advised me on designing and piloting a survey for a cohort study that I am currently conducting overseas. He was very generous with his time; I met with him 2-3 times in person. Prior to each meeting, he had carefully reviewed the study documents that I emailed to him in preparation for the meeting. He then provided additional follow-up help over email, including reviewing the content of the survey.

Silvia S. Chiang, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Planning Assistance

We’ll review any existing instruments you have to determine if they appear sound and if there are any caveats you might want to be aware of. If you have modified an existing survey to fit your needs, we’ll review and provide feedback about your changes.

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Survey Design 

If you require a new survey for your project, we’ll work with you throughout each stage of this process. This includes developing good definitions of what you want to measure, item writing (below), item selection (to ensure you don’t over- or under-measure anything), and evaluation for a future survey and/or publication.

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Item Writing

We’ll provide guidance to help you write the items for your survey to help ensure valid responses from your population of interest. For example, some key areas of concern when writing items may include the level of education an item is written for, the individual item phrasing, the item response formats, item skip patterns, and even the overall survey layout.  Some of these areas of concern may also vary depending on the chosen method of administration (e.g., electronic administration, telephone survey, paper and pencil, in person interview).

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Analytic Techniques 

After you have your survey results, we’ll help you analyze the data to see how the scale worked with your population, whether the items are sound, and if there are any modifications that need to be made to measure what you are seeking.

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I had the pleasure to receive a complimentary consultation with Dr. Fava [the service provider] through the Advance-CTR program. He helped me develop a measure that could fill a niche gap in clinical service and research for patients with heart disease. I'll be able to incorporate this effort into an existing study, which maximizes my efforts and reduces participant burden. It's uncommon to have access to such expertise during a K award when funds are limited, so I am very grateful to Advance-CTR for connecting us.

Carly Goldstein, PhD Assistant Professor (Research) of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Carly Goldstein, PhD