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Write a strong survey instrument using evidence-based practices



Struggling with designing meaningful surveys? Not getting the data you need? Perplexed about how to write ‘good’ surveys?

During our webinar, we’ll look at measuring responses. One of the most popular response scales used in survey design is the Likert scale. Some people use a five-point Likert scale consisting of Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, and Strongly Agree. Some people use a four-point Likert scale excluding the midpoint while others use a five point.

  • Do you include or exclude the midpoint, and why?
  • If you include a midpoint, how do you think respondents interpret and use a midpoint?
  • If you exclude a midpoint, how do you analyze the ordinal data and how does it affect the reliability of the data?

We’ll also look at writing statements (survey items).

  • Do you design all statements to be worded positively, or do you use a mix of positively and negatively worded statements? Why?
  • If you use a mixed format, which wording (e.g., not clear or unclear) should you use to design negatively worded statements? How does it affect the reliability of the data?

If you have designed a survey based on your preferences without knowing exactly why it should be done that way, this webinar will help you find some answers to the why questions.

We took a deep dive into the literature to see what the research could tell us about designing valid and reliable surveys. We reviewed over 40 research articles to find research-supported answers to the questions about Likert scale midpoints and positively/negatively stated survey items.


Dr. Yonnie Chyung

Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung, Ed.D., is a professor of the Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning in the College of Engineering at Boise State University. She teaches graduate courses on Program Evaluation and Quantitative Research in Organizations. She runs a Workplace-Oriented Research Central (WORC) lab where teams of practitioners and researchers conduct research on various topics in the HPI context. A series of articles on ‘Evidence-Based Survey Design’ written by her WORC teams are scheduled to be published in Performance Improvement Journal.

Chyung, S. Y., Roberts, K., Swanson, I., & Hankinson, A. (2017). Evidence-based survey design: The use of a midpoint on the Likert scale. Performance Improvement Journal, 56(10).

Chyung, S. Y., Barkin, J., & Shamsy, J. (2018). Evidence-based survey design: The use of negatively-worded items in surveys. Performance Improvement Journal, 57(2).


Ieva Swanson photo

Ieva Swanson, MS, is an Instructional Designer for Scottrade in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2007, her professional and volunteer experience has included multimedia course design and development, instruction, facilitation, and learning management system administration. She volunteers as Technology Chair for ISPI Bay Area/Boise State Chapter (BABS). She earned her MS in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning from Boise State University in 2016, and participates in Dr. Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung’s Workplace-Oriented Research Central (WORC) lab.

Chyung, S. Y., Roberts, K., Swanson, I., & Hankinson, A. (2017). Evidence-based survey design: The use of a midpoint on the Likert scale. Performance Improvement Journal, 56(10).


Jennifer Shamsy photo

Jennifer Shamsy MS, is a commercial airline pilot and adjunct online instructor. She graduated in Spring 2017 with a Master of Science degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning and a Workplace Instructional Design Graduate Certificate from Boise State University. Since graduation, Jennifer has participated in Dr. Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung’s Workplace-Oriented Research Central (WORC) lab. Most notably, she contributed to Dr. Chyung’s research in the area of ‘Evidence-Based Survey Design’ and more specifically in the use of negatively-worded items in surveys. The resulting article is scheduled for publication in the Performance Improvement Journal in 2018.

Chyung, S. Y., Barkin, J., & Shamsy, J. (2018). Evidence-based survey design: The use of negatively-worded items in surveys. Performance Improvement Journal, 57(2).