Safe surveys for evidence-based decision making

In our increasing drive for data, we’re inclined to want to know more information from people. The move is to evidence-based decision-making. And, increasingly, we have tools that make it easy. Surveys are one powerful tool. You likely have a feedback capability built right into your LMS or if not, you can use a third-party app and provide a link to a web page to start the process.

Anyone, these days, can generate a survey. Which means we’re at risk of two things: too many, and badly written surveys. And that’s a problem.

We can’t necessarily stop the prevalence of surveys (though we’ll address that too), but we can do something about the quality of some. There are principles from marketing, from cognitive science, and from assessment design from which we can synthesize good practices. Here we overview good survey principles, dig into principles about questions, and discuss some things to avoid and precautions.

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