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Survey Methods for Educators Series


Principal Investigators: Clare Irwin, Angela Pazzaglia, and Erin Stafford

Educators at the state and local levels are increasingly using data to inform policy decisions. While student achievement data is often used to inform instructional or programmatic decisions, educators may also need additional sources of data, some of which may not be housed in their existing data systems. Creating and administering surveys is one way to collect such data. However, documentation available to educators about administering surveys may provide insufficient guidance about the survey development process. Furthermore, some educators tasked with creating, administering, and analyzing their surveys may not have training or experience in survey methods.

In response to this need, REL Northeast & Islands has created a series of three complementary guides that provide an overview of the survey research process designed for educators. The guides address collaborative survey development, sampling respondents, survey administration, and analysis and reporting of survey data. The guides also provide detailed, real-world examples of how the process has been used in REL Northeast & Islands research alliances. With these guides, educators will be able to develop their own surveys and sampling and analysis plans.

These three reports draw from the research literature on survey development, sampling, and survey analysis, and highlight approaches that have been used successfully in multiple REL Northeast & Islands survey projects with education practitioners.

View the reports.

Part One, “Collaborative Survey Development” outlines the following steps:

  1. Identify topics of interest
  2. Identify relevant, existing survey items
  3. Draft new survey items and adapt existing survey items
  4. Review draft survey items with stakeholders and content experts
  5. Refine the draft survey using cognitive interviewing

Part Two, “Sampling Respondents and Survey Administration” outlines the following steps:

  1. Define the population 
  2. Specify the sampling procedure
  3. Determine the sample size
  4. Select the sample
  5. Administer the survey

Part Three, “Analysis and Reporting of Survey Data” outlines the following steps:

  1. Review the analysis plan
  2. Prepare and check data files
  3. Calculate response rates
  4. Calculate summary statistics
  5. Present the results in tables or figures

Collaborative Survey Development

Selecting Samples and Administering Surveys

Analysis and Reporting of Survey Data

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