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CJ 4230 - Research Methods (Kochis)

Things to Remember

  1. Searching works best when you have a research question in mind. You should be able to identify key concepts related to your research. These concepts form the basis for your search terms.
  2. What is your purpose? You may be writing an argumentative or persuasive paper. Or, your assignment may require you to analyze research on a topic. Perhaps you are developing a slide presentation based on your evaluation of key sources.
  3. Don't wait until the last minute. Good resources may not be available locally. Allow yourself time for an Interlibrary Loan.

Developing a Survey

Here are some things to consider when developing your survey:

Types of Information Collected by Questions

  1. To find out what information they know
    "Please describe ..."
  2. To find out what they feel
    "How do you feel about ...?"
  3. To find out what they think
    "How could the .. be improved?"
  4. To find out what they did
    "What happened?"

Types of Questions

  1. Open-ended
  2. Closed

Content of Questions

  1. Ask about what you need to know, i.e., get information in regard to the goals or ultimate questions you want to address by the evaluation.
  2. Will the respondent be able to answer your question, i.e., do they know the answer?
  3. Will respondents want to answer the question, i.e., is it too private or silly?

Order of Questions

  1. Be careful not to include too many questions.
  2. Start with fact-based questions and then go on to opinion-based questions.
  3. Attempt to get respondents' commentary in addition to their ratings.
  4. Pilot or test your questionnaire on a small group. 
  5. Finalize the questionnaire according to results of the pilot.

Keep these concepts in mind and look at the links below for more detailed information and examples of survey and questionnaire design.


We also have several books and eBooks in our collection looking at effective questionnaire design.

The first title, Survey Basics, is an eBooks and can be accessed anywhere.