Writing effective survey questions is both an art and a science. WYSAC can assist in the design of a data collection instrument from start to finish, including questionnaire content, formatting, and pre-testing. Our staff includes subject-matter experts on a variety of topics, ranging from public health, the environment, and recreation to education, crime, and information technology. In designing questionnaires, we also consult with faculty from other UW units for their subject-matter expertise. We can help to ensure the scientific validity of a survey by using focus groups, cognitive interviewing, and/or statistical item-analysis to test questions on a small sub-sample before interviewing the full sample.
WYSAC’s efficient procedures for handling mail surveys result from the knowledge and experience of our staff and our modern technological infrastructure for handling paper-based data collection. Rather than entering data manually we use Teleform software for scanning paper-and-pencil questionnaires, along with two high-volume Panasonic KV-S3065C scanners for processing the returns. Reliability of operations is supported by an organizational commitment to quality. Data and system backups are performed regularly.
Our technological infrastructure includes WinCATI software for computer-aided telephone interviewing and a fully equipped call center with 20 stations. We place special emphasis on training our survey interviewers for effective and unbiased data collection. We closely supervise and continually assess interviewer performance with the help of unobtrusive monitoring.
We have built and maintain our own infrastructure for hosting Internet surveys. We recommend this approach for highly customized surveys with complex skip logic and/or demanding visual elements. For simpler web surveys, we use Qualtrics Software.