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Mentored Scholarly Activity Guide (MSA): Research Design and Surveys

If you want information about the MSA program, please see the main program page.

Online Survey Resources

See also Program Evaluation Resources, Institutional Review Board (IRB) 


  • HAPI (Health and Psychosocial Instruments) (from Ovid) Search for surveys and questionnaires used with different topics.  Limit to Primary Source to find the original article discussing validity and reliability that (usually) includes the instrument, its administration and interpretation.
  • Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys : the tailored design method. 3rd ed. Don A. Dillman, Jolene D. Smyth and Leah Melani Christian. Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley & Sons, c2009.  Book in HSL General Collection/3rd Floor H 71 D578m 2009   Click here for a more extensive list of books at the Health Sciences Library.
  • Introduction to Survey Research Design This set of presentation slides from a Univerity of Illinois - Chicago researcher covers the basics of creating and administering a survey. Includes a reference list of recommended readings.
  • Online Survey Comparison Chart
  • Online Survey Design Guide Design guidelines and principles for Web-based survey instruments, and explicitly deals with design features of the Website, such as colors, sound effects, video clips, screen layouts, navigational issues, etc., due to the special nature of Web-based surveys. Content does not include the traditional components of questionnaire design, such as wording and ordering.
  • Questionnaire Design and Surveys Sampling  This site provides information on basic statistical analyses on data from sample surveys. Although the material was prepared with marketing surveys in mind, much of the material applies to all types of survey data.
  • Smart Survey Design SurveyMonkey offers this basic manual covering planning, writing and conducting online surveys.  Addresses the pros and cons of online surveys and 508 accessibility issues that can be relevant to surveying populations with disabilities. 
  • Survey Design  Step by step guidance for planning and carrying out a survey, including excellent tips for writing questions and best practices for how to solicit information effectively.  A selection of useful calculators is also available, and advice for analyzing survey results.
  • Survey Design from Wikiversity  An encyclopedia style guide to designing surveys.
  • Survey Design Workshop This slide set from a workshop covers the nuts and bolts of survey design.
  • Survey & Questionnaire Design A thorough tutorial on many aspects of designing and carrying out surveys including the practical logistics and question design.
  • SurveyMonkey SurveyMonkey Basic is free and limited to a total of 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. A monthly subscription is $17 and can continue for a month, a few months, or longer, depending on your needs. 
  • Webinars created for librarians on conducting surveys include lots of general introductory information and last 60 minutes:
  • Writing Great Questions for Online Surveys
  • Zoomerang Zoomerang Basic is a limited-feature trial version of Zoomerang zPro. Ask up to 30 questions and collect up to 100 responses per survey. Results expire after 10 days, so save your results to a spreadsheet for later analysis. Ongoing membership is free. Zoomerang ZPro is $99 for three months or $350/year at an educational discount. It offers more extensive question options and results maintenance and output.  The Zoomerang Resource Center offers helpful guidance and a planning checklist.

Resources and Tutorials

RD Direct is a UK service for all researchers working in health and social care settings. This site contains  information relevant to health research,  whether you are an experienced researcher or a beginner.

SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for NIH and Other PHS Agencies is a guide for new researchers who want to learn more about applying for research grants from the US federal government. Even if not applying for grant funding, many students will need the information on page I-71 about the "Biographical Sketch", which is used in the Research Track and by Principal Investigators to identify their research personnel.

Subject Guide