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Testing a Survey Instrument

Once a survey or questionnaire is developed it should be pilot tested. These pre-tests, prior to launching the survey to the identified audience, help to determine any failures in the survey instrument, poorly worded or unclear questions, or inappropriate or erroneous response categories. The following resources provide information on testing a survey instrument.

Tips for Developing and Testing Questionnaires/Instruments
This Journal of Extension article by Rama B. Radhakrishna, The Pennsylvania State University, presents five steps in questionnaire development and testing to enhance data quality and utilization of research. Easy to follow, clear and concise. 2007.

Pilot Testing
This webpage by Keith Diem, Rutgers University, discusses strategies to pilot test curricula or publications. More geared toward testing curricula than survey instruments, but applicable information is contained.

Pilot Testing 4-H Curriculum
This website by Keith Diem, Rutgers University, presents strategies to pilot test 4-H curricula or publications. Provides sample pilot test forms for 4-H curricula with youth and adults audiences

Pilot Testing Data Collection Instruments (PDF)
This fact sheet by Center for Program Evaluation and Research, University of California-Davis, is a practical guide to pilot testing data collection instruments. Easy to follow, clear and concise.

Pilot Test Tips: How to Verify the Design and Settings
This website by Survey Monkey, offers guidelines that should help in performing successful pretests of e-surveys.