Thursday, April 17, 2008

Developing an online survey with SurveyMonkey

As part of my ongoing project of developing a program of online seminars for midwives I have needed to develop an evaluation tool, so a 'short and sweet' online survey should do the trick.

I was advised to try SurveyMonkey, which I found extremely easy to use. The free version allows you to develop a survey of up to ten questions. There is a choice of a number of question formats from open text to multiple choice. The program hosts the survey and also analyzes the results. I would say that even a person who had basic computer skills would be able to use this program.

Developing the questions
I based the questions on the evaluation survey that MIDIRS uses for its webinars. What I am going to be really interested in knowing is:
  • the effectiveness of my advertising;
  • the effectiveness of the information I provide;
  • the effectiveness of the technology;
  • people's experience of the seminars;
  • suggestions for any change.
Validity of the survey
The survey is what I call 'cheap and cheerful'. In other words, it will never pass a validity test. For example, because it is freely accessible anyone can come along and make up false answers.
But havinf said that, hopefully it will give me an idea of how people feel about the seminars. This survey will go alongside the verbal feedback I will receive

If this project ever becomes an research project, I will have to be a lot more stringent about the project's evaluation and survey questions.

To find out more about developing online surveys, read any work of Don Dillman.

Stewart, S. 2006. Practical considerations for Internet research.
British Journal of Midwifery, 14 (9): 527-529.

Stewart, S. 2003. Casting the net: using the Internet for survey research. British Journal of Midwifery, 11(9): 543-546.

Wickham, S., & Stewart, S. 2001.
Web research . . . the final frontier? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, March, 11 (1): 28-31

Image: 'Clowning around'

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