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A survey or questionnaire is used to elicit business analysis
information—including information about customers, products, work practices,
and attitudes—from a group of people in a structured way and in a relatively
short period of time.
A survey or questionnaire presents a set of
questions to stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs), whose responses
are then collected and analyzed in order to formulate knowledge about the
subject matter of interest. The questions can be submitted in written form
or can be administered in person, over the telephone, or using technology
that can record responses.
There are two types of questions used in
a survey or questionnaire:
• Close-ended: the respondent is asked to
select from a list of predefined responses, such as a Yes/No response, a
multiple-choice selection, a rank/ order decision, or a statement requiring
a level of agreement. This is useful when the anticipated range of user
responses is fairly well defined and understood. The responses to
close-ended questions are easier to analyze than those gained from
open-ended questions because they can be tied to numerical coefficients.
• Open-ended: the respondent is asked to answer questions in a free form
without having to select an answer from a list of predefined responses.
Open-ended questions are useful when the issues are known and the range of
user responses is not. Open-ended questions may result in more detail and a
wider range of responses than closed-ended questions. The responses to
open-ended questions are more difficult and time-consuming to categorize,
quantify, and summarize as they are unstructured and often include
subjective language with incomplete or superfluous content. Questions should
be asked in a way that does not influence the response data. They should be
expressed in neutral language and should not be structured or sequenced to
condition the respondent to provide perceived desirable answers.
.1 Prepare An effective survey or questionnaire requires detailed planning
in order to ensure that the needed information is obtained in an efficient
manner. When preparing for a survey or questionnaire, business analysts do
• Define the objective: a clear and specific objective
establishes a defined purpose of the survey or questionnaire. Questions are
formulated with the intent of meeting the objective.
• Define the target
survey group: identifying the group to be surveyed in terms of population
size and any perceived variations (for example, culture, language, or
location) helps identify factors that can impact survey design. • Choose the
appropriate survey or questionnaire type: the objective of the survey or
questionnaire determines the appropriate combination of close-ended
questions and open-ended questions to elicit the information required.
Select the sample group: consider both the survey or questionnaire type and
the number of people in the identified user group in order to determine if
it is necessary and feasible to survey the entire group. It may be important
to survey all members—even of a large group—if their demographics indicate a
wide variance due to geographic distribution, regulatory differences, or
lack of standardization in job function or business process. If the
population is large and the survey type is open-ended, it may be necessary
to identify a subset of users to engage in the questionnaire process. Using
a statistical sampling method will help ensure that the sample selected is
representative of the population so that the survey results can be reliably
• Select the distribution and collection methods: determine
the appropriate communication mode for each sample group.
• Set the
target level and timeline for response: determine what response rate is
acceptable and when it should be closed or considered complete. If the
actual response rate is lower than the acceptable threshold, the use of the
survey results may be limited.
• Determine if the survey or
questionnaire should be supported with individual interviews: as a survey or
questionnaire does not provide the depth of data that can be obtained from
individual interviews, consider either pre- or post-survey or questionnaire
interviews. • Write the survey questions: ensure that all the questions
support the stated objectives.
• Test the survey or questionnaire: a
usability test on the survey identifies errors and opportunities for
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