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Lesson Plan

And the Question Is... Writing Good Survey Questions

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Patricia Alejandra Lastiri

Patricia Alejandra Lastiri

Villanova d'Asti, Asti


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computers with Internet access

  • Overhead projector and transparencies (optional)

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1. Before teaching this lesson, you may want to teach its companion "And the Question Is... Evaluating the Validity of a Survey," which has students explore what makes a survey valid.

2. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve Sessions 1 and 2 in your school's computer lab. You will need one computer for every four or five students. Familiarize yourself with all websites in the Resources list, and bookmark them on the computers students will be using if appropriate.

3. During Session 1, students will look for definitions for the following terms. You should be familiar with them and you may want to list them on the board (without the definitions).

  • Valid responses-The answers measure what is asked

  • Biased data-Information that leads the respondent to answer in a particular way

  • Respondent-Someone who answers survey questions

  • Investigator-The person who administers the survey

  • Relevant subjects-People who have knowledge about the survey's topics

  • Capability of respondents-The ability to accurately respond to the questions

  • Pilot testing-To measure the tendency of the survey to gather the information desired so that it can be rewritten as needed

  • Target population-The target population is the entire group a researcher is interested in, the group about which the researcher wishes to draw conclusions
    Example: Suppose we take a group of men aged 35-40 who have suffered an initial heart attack. The purpose of this study could be to compare the effectiveness of two drug regimes for delaying or preventing further attacks. The target population here would be all men meeting the same general conditions as those actually included in the study.
  • Sample-A set of individual units, drawn from some definable population of units and generally a small proportion of the population, to be used for a statistical examination; the findings are intended to be applied to the population

  • Population-The largest group under study that includes all individuals meeting the defined characteristics
4. Make two or three copies of the Survey Evaluation Form for each student in your class; you may also choose to share the Example of Students' Survey Guidelines if you think it would be helpful to your students.

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