By Mugs Scherer
In the winter quarter Community Planning Workshop class at the University of Oregon, I was part of a group working on a national needs assessment related to emergency management at U.S. institutions of higher education. Contrary to what you might think from reading the first sentence, it’s an engaging and exciting topic. As part of the needs assessment, we sent out a survey to emergency management professionals at universities and colleges throughout the U.S. For the survey, we used a program called Qualtrics.
Before I started winter quarter, I knew a little bit about surveys and nothing about Qualtrics. Fortunately, Google and a website called “Qualtrics University” were there to fill in the gaps. Here are five things I learned:
1. If you are inserting a link into a survey question in Qualtrics, there’s an option to make the link open in a new window when someone clicks on it. But if you don’t choose that option, it just takes the person away from the survey. So you should use that option.
2. It’s best to make your question match your answer choices. For instance, if the answers are a range from “Greatly Disapprove” to “Greatly Approve,” then a good way to start the question is with the phrase “Please indicate your level of agreement or disagreement …”
3. Similarly, the phrase “What, if any, …” is your friend.
4. If you have a numeric example in a question, and the number contains a fraction (2.5, for instance), then you should allow the answer to be in fractions, as well. Qualtrics allows you to do this, but you have to be sure to ask politely.
5. It’s easier to come up with four examples of something than five examples of something.
Mugs Scherer is a graduate student in the University of Oregon’s community and regional planning program.