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Use and Effectiveness of Surveys

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Research Observation

Everywhere you go, you are asked to take a survey. They are everywhere these days. Surveys are important data collection methods for research. Improper design and frequent of surveys can be overwhelming.


Not every survey needs extensive reliability and validity testing, but careful development and common sense must be used in developing questions. Poorly asked and unwarranted assumptions can distort the intended meaning behind survey questions, resulting in smaller responses that will be unable to interpret. Surveys take planning and careful thought. Poorly designed surveys can be unclear and unintentionally biased. Avoid 'double-barrel' questions, unambiguous language, abbreviation, jargon, and technical terms. Keep the survey short and still cover the needed questions; and test the survey on a few people in the target group. (Connelly, 2011).


Preconditioning is whereby survey responses are affected by previous experience in the same or similar surveys. A version of survey conditioning known as panel conditioning occurs when previous exposure to a survey affects responses in later waves. Similar conditioning occurs within a single survey, if the responses to survey items placed in the latter segment of a survey instrument are affected by experience gained from earlier segments of the survey. One form of survey conditioning is attention; the systematic reduction of symptom reports over time. In particular, respondents might learn to avoid the burden of follow-up questions by responding negatively to stem questions. Survey responses in the latter sections of a long instrument are biased towards underreporting. (Duan 2007).


Surveying is an exchange of ideas between interviewer and participant, each must understand what the other is saying. Words must be simple and clear enough to allow adequate communication by reducing the difficulty of words and preventing wrong assumptions. (Cooper 2011).


Connelly, Lynne M., Surveys, surveys, and more surveys. MEDSURG Nursing, 2011-03-0120:2, | 61(35) | ISSN: 10920811 | Research, Nursing; Surveys | Description: Publication Type : Health Services Research, April 2007 v42 i2 p890(18)

Duan, N. Survey conditioning in self-reported mental health service use: randomized comparison of alternative instrument formats. Methods Articles Margarita Alegria; Glorisa Canino; Thomas G. McGuire; David Takeuchi. Author's Abstract: COPYRIGHT 2007 Health Research and Educational Trust journal article Language : English AN : 2010986760

Cooper, D., Schindler, P. Business Research Methods. 11th Ed., McGraw-Hill Irwin, New York NY.

Solution Preview

Surveys are interesting in that they reflect a desire for an organization or group to gain information. Most often, however, respondents feel trapped into supplying answers and often do not have any responsibility to answer honestly or with care. A large majority of surveys are attached with a bribe of sorts, for instance, the opportunity to be part of a drawing for successfully completing the survey or a ...

Solution Summary

This solution discuss the use and effectiveness of surveys.