How to Create Effective Surveys: Cutting Edge Innovations

Individual filling out a survey

February 12, 2016

Event Slideshow (PDF)

Click here for information on the second workshop in this series.

Workshop for researchers interested in the creation of surveys

Researchers setting out to conduct a questionnaire-based study often assume that the process of designing a questionnaire is simple and intuitive, and that reusing items from questionnaires that have been used in past research is a wise way to efficiently design a new questionnaire. In this workshop, Dr. Jon A. Krosnick will demonstrate how challenging questionnaire design really is, and how to overcome these challenges when guided by the right empirically-grounded principles for producing reliable and valid data. Implementing this guidance will help researchers collect valid and reliable data more quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively and will maximize their chances of detecting true relations between variables and producing accurate characterizations of populations. The workshop will also review many cutting edge issues in other aspects of survey methodology, all of which will help survey researchers do their best work.


About Dr. Jon A. Krosnick

Visit Dr. Krosnick's websites:

Winner of the American Association for Public Opinion Research's Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding research, Jon A. Krosnick is Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor of Communication, Professor of Political Science, and (by courtesy) Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, director of the Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford, and director of the Summer Institute in Political Psychology at Stanford, as well as Research Psychologist at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dr. Krosnick is also a world-recognized expert on the psychology of attitudes, especially in the area of politics. He is co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation's preeminent academic research project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. For 30 years, Dr. Krosnick has studied how the American public's political attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action. His publications explore the causes of people decisions about whether to vote, for whom to vote, whether to approve of the President's performance, whether to take action to influence government policy-making on a specific issue, and much more.

Another major focus of his research has been on questionnaire design and survey research methods. Professor Krosnick has taught courses for professionals on survey methods for 30 years around the world and has served as a methodology consultant to government agencies, commercial firms, and academic scholars. His books include "Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis" and "The Handbook of Questionnaire Design" (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), which reviews 100 years of research on how different ways of asking questions can yield different answers from survey respondents and on how to design questions to measure most accurately. His recent research has focused on how other aspects of survey methodology (e.g., collecting data by interviewing face-to-face vs. by telephone or on paper questionnaires) can be optimized to maximize accuracy.

In addition to the AAPOR Award, Dr. Krosnick's scholarship has been recognized with the Phillip Brickman Memorial Prize, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award, the Erik Erikson Early Career Award for Excellence and Creativity, two fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

As an expert witness in court, he has testified evaluating the quality of surveys presented as evidence by opposing counsel and has conducted original survey research to inform courts in cases involving unreimbursed expenses, uncompensated overtime work, exempt/non-exempt misclassification, patent/trademark violation, health effects of accidents, consequences of being misinformed about the results of standardized academic tests, economic valuation of environmental damage, change of venue motions, and other topics.

Dr. Krosnick's Political Psychology Research Group (PPRG) is a cross-disciplinary team of scholars who conduct empirical studies of the psychology of political behavior and studies seeking to optimize research methodology for studying political psychology. The group's studies employ a wide range of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and content analysis, and the group often conducts collaborative research studies with leading news media organizations, including ABC News, The Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Support for the group's work has come from U.S. Government agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics), private foundations (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and Institutes at Stanford (e.g., the Woods Institute for the Environment). Dr. Krosnick also directs the Summer Institute in Political Psychology, an annual event that brings 60 students and professionals from around the world to Stanford for intensive training in political psychology theory and methods.