SULINGITUK GOVERNMENT: Drafting a questionnaire

The decision to conduct a census has sparked significant interest, with numerous staff members putting forth their information needs in the hopes it will be incorporated into the questionnaire. However, given all of these incoming information needs, the team anticipates a challenge in creating an efficient, consistent, and respondent-friendly questionnaire.

To address the multitude of competing interests, the team initiates the process by prioritizing questions related to the previously agreed-upon indicators chosen from the Indicator Guide & Recommended Indicator List. This step is crucial, as these indicators form the core of their previously agreed-upon information needs.

The team then establishes a set of guiding principles endorsed by the senior administrator to facilitate the systematic evaluation of other proposed questions and information requirements in a transparent manner. 

These principles encompass:

  1. Conciseness: Ensuring that the survey does not exceed 20 minutes.
  2. Durability: Crafting questions that remain replicable and relevant even 5, 10, and 20 years into the future.
  3. Actionable Benefit: Ensuring that the questions generate data that inform government activities.
  4. Reportability: Creating questions that are easy to analyze and likely to be reportable within privacy thresholds.

Applying these guiding principles results in a set of questions that undergoes a thorough review by the senior administrator. Careful consideration is given to the ‘rules of thumb’ to shape the final questionnaire (rules of thumb can be found in the full Data Collection and Analysis Tool).

Once the draft questionnaire is loaded into the survey software, the Sulingituk team seeks to test the questionnaire to ensure it meets the four guiding principles and the ‘rules of thumb’ – and to ensure that their decisions on question selection aren’t leaving any major gaps in the eyes of the community. They also want to ensure that the technology, links, and survey structure work as intended. 

Given that many staff of the Sulingituk Government are also members, they decide to use this group to test the questionnaire. Senior administration provides one hour for Sulingituk members on staff to complete the questionnaire, and prizes are offered for their participation. Participants are asked to identify any questions that are unclear or uncomfortable to answer. They are also asked to point out any broken links or other technical snags in the survey. Finally, they are asked to think about whether the questionnaire covers the big things that the community will want to share or talk about with the Sulingituk Government.

Based on the feedback, the Sulingituk team makes a number of changes to the questionnaire:

  • Some terminology is adjusted to reflect the community’s worldview and common language;
  • Additional information is built into the introduction to the questionnaire to explain privacy and confidentiality for all respondents; 
  • One question is added to reflect a gap in the questionnaire related to child care;
  • Some unclear questions are  refined to enhance accuracy, reliability, and clarity.

To read the entire Sulingituk Government case study, click here.

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