The questions that
comprise your survey represent your areas of research interest. In order
to develop or to select among existing candidates for survey items, you need to
refine your ideas of what it is that you are seeking to learn from the group
that you plan to survey. Often, we believe it is useful to talk to people
in advance, including those in relevant management and leadership positions
within your company who will be responsible for acting on the survey findings
and people within key segments of the group that you will be surveying.
This can help to highlight some of the pressing internal and external issues
that are facing your company. Remember, if it is important and you do not
ask it, you will not get the answer you need to address it.
For some types of surveys,
there are generally accepted dimensions or groups of questions that you want to
consider. We can help you with that and provide you with sample questions.
You can also review the pages on this Web site that are specific to the types of
surveys we conduct at GuideStar Research.
If your organization has undergone recent changes or you have never surveyed
before, then it is even more important that a range of stakeholders be involved
in identifying the important areas to include in the survey. This may be
done through informal interviews (e.g., via phone calls) or through more formal,
qualitative research using structured interview guides or focus groups.
We generally recommend
that your survey include questions relating to the outcomes you wish to promote
(e.g., employee or customer loyalty) and questions that center on the important
dimensions that pre-survey discussions, organizational priorities, and our
knowledge of your industry suggest are important for getting at an understanding
of your key relationships, your strengths and weaknesses, and the concerns of
those you rely on for your business. By asking outcome-oriented questions
we can help you to understand what factors are driving those outcomes. By
including open-ended questions for free-form comments, we can help you to gain a
better understanding of how people view your organization in their own words.
Go to our Surveys & Consulting section and
select the type of survey you are interested in for a more detailed discussion
of the types of questions that are often included in a survey like the one
you are planning.