How to Conduct Surveys

Shorter is better, says an expert.

When it comes to conducting surveys, shorter is better, according to Scott Evans, principal consultant, Up2Right Consulting, Loveland, Colo., the speaker for the Oct. 8 ASBPE/Denver chapter meeting.

“Good research bears a strong similarity to good editorial,” Evans says, including targeted objectives and focused, concise information. Yet editors often don’t use their editorial skills when crafting surveys, he says. He speculates that’s because editorial research is done so infrequently that editors try to cram too much information into one survey.

Infrequent surveys need not be the norm, he contends, especially with the growing popularity of online surveys, a significantly quicker and less expensive option to traditional mailed and printed surveys.

Evans says the ideal survey length is 10 questions, including demographic information which is crucial for cross-tabulation. Questions should be phrased with tabulation in mind. To that end, avoid “check all that apply” options and keep answer lists brief (no more than 4-5 options).

He also encourages editors to put questions in the “right” order, which he defines as:

  • Easy demographics;
  • Easy questions;
  • More/most difficult questions;
  • “Touchy” demographics last (contact information, salary, etc.); and
  • Group like topics together.

For more information or questions regarding surveys, contact Scott Evans at Up2Right Consulting, (970) 669-5303,

Up2Right Consulting is the organization that conducted the ASBPE national salary survey.

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