Wisdom from the ECHO workshop about how to create good surveys:

  • Open-ended questions generally are pretty good, though you also want to try to encourage people to contribute material that will be useful to you.
  • Don’t make it look like a job application. If you’re going to ask for detailed biographical information, contact information, etc., put it at the bottom of the survey.
  • Break up the population into different groups, and ask them different questions. Don’t try to do a one-size-fits-all survey. In particular, separate the public feedback or students looking for help with papers from the REALLY useful informants. You don’t want your message boards to be overwhelmed with “HELP! I need help with my paper by tomorrow :(” messages. Images can be especially useful in this regard.