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Conducting a Survey
Excerpted from the  American Statistical Association (ASA) page, "How to Plan a Survey"
http://www.stat.ncsu.edu/info/srms/survplan.html

1.  Decide how you will distribute and conduct the survey (e.g., mail, telephone, or in-person.)

2.  Phrase questions clearly to avoid confusion. Even the question, "Were you robbed during the last six months?" seems straightforward and clear-cut, the question could result in the wrong information.  Many people are unaware of the legal distinction between robbery (involving personal confrontation of the victim by the offender) and burglary (involving breaking and entering but no confrontation).

Therefore, in the National Crime Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the questions on robbery victimization do not mention "robbery." Instead, there are several questions used; when taken together, they seek to capture the desired responses by using more universally understood phrases. See the following example from the National Crime Victimization
Survey Questionnaire:
 
I'm going to read some examples that will give you an idea of the kinds of crimes this study covers.  As I go through them, tell me if any of these happened to you in the last 6 months. 

     Was something belonging to YOU stolen, such as -- 

     (a) Things you carry, like luggage, a wallet, purse, briefcase, book -- 
     (b) Clothing, jewelry, or calculator -- 
     (c) Bicycle or sports equipment --  
     (d) Things in your home -- like a TV, stereo, or tools -- 
     (e) Things from a vehicle, such as a package, groceries, camera, or  
           cassette tapes -- 
     OR  
     (f) Did anyone ATTEMPT to steal anything belonging to you?  

     Briefly describe incident(s) 

 
3.  Avoid LONG questionairres.  Keep them simple and short.

4.  Make your questionairre neat and easy to read.  Word-process, spell-check, and have someone edit your questionairre before you distribute it.

5.  Choose your survey group carefully.  Don't just haphazardly hand it out.  Survey at least twenty people and balance gender unless it is a gender-specific survey.

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