By Tatum White
Berent, Matthew. PhD. Common Mistakes in Survey Design. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from http://www.mattberent.com/Common_Survey_Mistakes.pdf.
Matthew Berent, social psychologist and research consultant from the Ohio State University, works with researchers from Stanford University and the University of Michigan on survey design. He discusses techniques in survey development that lead to invalid results. He offers a solution for each mistake that will increase the robustness and usefulness of the data acquired. Minimizing the length of the survey keeps the respondents motivated to provide thoughtful answers. The questions should be focused and purposeful. Foresight is important; predetermining how the data will be used and analyzed will improve the effectiveness of the survey. Both the questions and responses should be simplified and clear, avoiding drop-down boxes and more than 10 categorical responses. Similar questions that have been proven to work for other surveys can be used. When implementing the survey, be prepared for low response rates and the motivation levels of those asked. Finally, the survey should be assessed by colleagues and experts before implementing it to expose errors and confusion. Different versions may be tested to see which works best.