Wednesday, June 9, 2010

would you like to take a survey?

I've spent the last few days trying to create a survey to assess outcomes for an educational program at work. I have a set of 5 anticipated outcomes and interviews of program participants that show how people have started to talk about ways those outcomes have happened in their lives. The next step is to map out a set of standard statements that people can respond to in a survey, that are good evidence or approximations of whether an outcome has occurred.

For example, if one of the anticipated outcomes of the program was that people who participated would become advocates of Mint Cookies & Cream ice cream, then I may give people a statement like: "After the program, I talked to my friends about what I had learned about Mint Cookies & Cream ice cream". The behavior of talking to friends is a proxy for people becoming MC&C advocates.

It's an interesting process. And it gets tricky because the statement needs to be descriptive and short, and interpreted more or less the same by every person who reads it.

As I agonize over crafting a useful and accurate survey, it helps to look at other surveys in the field. Today, I took a survey about my recent experience registering at Babies R Us.

I just wasn't sure how to respond to this question they gave me:

("On a scale from 1 to 10, to what degree do you feel you created THE BEST baby registry")

What do you say, as a couple who went to the store about 45 minutes before closing, had a list of about 10 things we thought we'd probably want (we were told to register for 100+), and aren't really into shopping and consumer purchases to begin with?

I think I gave us a 3 out of 10.

I'm interested in what they want this question to proxy. Probably satisfaction with the registry process. But I was satisfied just because it was done. I wasn't satisfied because the customer service desk took 15 minutes at the beginning to explain how we could, essentially, create THE BEST registry possible.

This makes me feel two ways. First, it makes me feel like I have a chance at creating a decent survey because, hey, look at what those guys did that was passable. Second, it makes me feel like people could very well be blogging about my bad survey questions.


Janssen said...

For some reason, I found registering for baby items to be FAR less enjoyable than registering for wedding presents. Maybe that's because I like things for me more than things for a baby.

Jen said...

I'm confident you'll craft the perfect outcomes assessment survey!

Just out of curiosity, what ten items did you regester for?

Megan said...

Hopefully they asked some quantitative questions too like "How many times did you wish you were home scrubbing your toilet when you were registering?" or "How many times did you have to tell your husband to stop playing that dumb game on his cell phone and start helping you because you hate registering just as much as he does?"

Dawn said...

Too bad you can't register for college funds or something really useful for the baby!

I'm sure your survey will be 10x better than Babies R Us's...oh wait. That's quantitative. You're looking for qualitative results. Hmmm... OK.

I'm sure your survey will inspire your participants to completely complete the survey answers...

oh heck.

I give up!

You're on your own on this one!