Survey Design and Data Best Practices

The business industry is very results and data oriented. For approximately a decade, the “softer” functions like management and human resources have struggled to speak the same language as “hard” functions like finance. Organizational Development, based in human relations, struggles with similar issues of translation. An answer to bringing measurement and quantitative analysis around issues of motivation, engagement, and learning has come through the use of surveys.

Successful Surveys

When analyzing the quality of surveys be sure to examine several key factors, such as:

  • Does the intent of the survey match the way the data will be used?
  • Is the statistical sample carefully chosen?
  • Are the questions concise and clear?
  • Is the analysis complete and ethical?


Below you’ll find some resources that will help you prepare and deliver better surveys.

Fanning, E. (2005). Formatting a paper-based survey questionnaire: best practices. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation , 20 (10), 1-14.

Seibert, T. (2002, July 24). Designing surveys that count. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from

Strowman, S. (2004, November 3). Best practices in survey design. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from



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