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Instrument Design and Development

Designing effective survey questions is among the most important elements of survey research, but it can often be a challenging one. Survey response psychology is complex and there are many potential sources of measurement error that poorly designed surveys and survey questions can introduce. The resources below provide more information about constructing effective survey questions and minimizing measurement error.

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Survey Mode

Surveys can be conducted in many different modes, including online, telephone, mail, and face-to-face. Each mode has unique advantages and disadvantages that researchers should consider before selecting the best format to implement a survey. The resources below provide more information about survey modality. Most Duke affiliates interested in conducting their own surveys will likely be interested in web survey formats. The Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology offers training and consultation in how to construct web surveys.

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Sampling Methods

One of the most important aspects of survey research is selecting a population of interest and developing a method to sample units from that population to survey. There are a number of common sampling techniques, and researchers should carefully consider which approach best suits their needs. The tipsheet below offers more information about sampling methods and how those methods affect data analysis.

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One common source of error in surveys is nonresponse. It comes in two forms: 1) unit nonresponse in which sampled units do not answer the survey and 2) item nonresponse in which participants return the survey but leave individual questions unanswered. The tipsheet below provide advice on how to deal with nonresponse error.

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Cross-Cultural Survey Research

Many researchers want to conduct surveys in multiple languages, but surveys of this type can raise a number of concerns, including issues of translation and cultural norms. Here are some useful links with tips on conducting cross-cultural surveys.

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