I've looked at two surveys this week. The first was that distributed by QAAHEA about its new draft Guidelines to HE institutions about SD / ESD (it never quite decided which this was). The second was about the National Student Survey (NSS). Both, of course, had QAA's fingerprints on them.
But what a contrast. The E(SD) Guidelines was a cheap-o affair from Survey Monkey (we're all increasingly familiar with these). The NSS one was a sleek piece of design from Nat Cen, a social research outfit. I warmed immediately to the Nat Cen approach as it allowed you to see all the questions in advance which is a simple way of treating the respondent with respect. You can, for example, see whether there's any point in your starting the survey.
I further warmed to the NSS survey when I came to this:
18a. (If answer to Q17=yes) Why … ?
and then this:
19. (If answer to Q17=no) Why … ?
In the QAAHEA's E(SD) survey, you were not encouraged to give "Yes, and / but …" responses. It was assumed that you'd only have something to say if you disagreed with the proposition. This was very irritating as I was forced to give "No" responses (followed by a comment), when I really wanted to say, "Yes, but / and …". That said, I did manage to squeeze in all the points I wanted to make, even if I did end up by seemingly over-filling the boxes. All that said, the NSS survey wasn't flawless as there were boxes that didn't expand to let you say what you wanted to. Inexplicable. I can only trust that both were valuable.