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Survey Design & Methodology

Technical Assistance with Survey Planning

More than ever before, key decision makers are in need of empirical guidance for improving the operations of their organizations. Such guidance, however, cannot be based on a plethora of raw data. Measurable impact requires actionable intelligence, vital to which is reliable information that has to be distilled from representative data. As depicted in the following schematic, scientific sample design and diligent survey administration; effective analysis of survey data; and coherent interpretation of the results are critical steps towards the ultimate goal of enabling the production of a measurable impact.


Another fundamental tenet of our strategy is recognition of the fact that rigorous survey research programs are designed and implemented to minimize the so-called Total Survey Error, as depicted in the following diagram. Under this comprehensive framework each component of error should receive proper attention, since with imbalanced focus on any particular source of error, other error components will gain opportunities to grow and create weak links in the survey process. Effectively addressing all these issues requires academic knowledge, hand-on experience, and transparent execution – a package the ISR team offers.

total survey error


Survey Instrument Review and Revision

As a scientific survey research unit, ISR is accustomed to reviewing prior versions of questionnaires with a fresh view on survey methodology to accurately prioritize core components, identify question revisions, and recommend items for deletion. ISR uses questionnaire flow charts to determine question source citations, outcome measures, and policy insight. Such charts will allow for clear identification of duplicate information obtained from multiple items, reference historical data from source citations, and create future questions to obtain new information on recent policy changes. New trending topics can be exposed through importing the previous survey questionnaires into the flow chart to ensure that important measures are not missed.

Cognitive testing ensures that the language of the questionnaire and other materials such as advance letters and survey instructions are appropriate for the target population. Because a well-designed questionnaire format is important, we strive to design an instrument that is easily navigated by the interviewer and, if self-administered, visually appealing to the respondent. We are highly experienced in experimental methods to test wording, response format, context and mode, as well as in reliability and validity assessments and interaction coding. (Source: Fahimi 2012)