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Social Science Basics: Writing Effective Survey Questions


December 2, 2021
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Karina Heim
(715) 399-4089

Event Details

Social Science Basics: Writing Effective Survey Questions
Chris Ellis and Brenna Sweetman, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Thursday, December 2, 2021
10:00am-11:30am CT/11:00am-12:30pm ET
Capacity: 30

Register for Course

Take this course if you...

  • Are not trained in survey design but are tasked with administering surveys.

  • Would like to develop a more critical eye for what “good” survey questions look like, and how to maximize feedback.

About the Course
Surveys are a popular information collection tool to help coastal managers understand their stakeholders and quickly assess large populations. Unfortunately, because of their popularity, many people untrained in survey creation administer poorly designed surveys that yield questionable results. This workshop serves to provide coastal managers and environmental professionals with best practices to write more effective survey questions. If your background is not in the social sciences but you nonetheless find yourself in the position of crafting surveys, this workshop is for you!

Workshop attendees will learn how to:

  • Review and critique surveys, and identify common mistakes in question design
  • Incorporate 25 best practices when creating survey questions
  • Create appropriate question layout and design
  • Identify ways to improve survey questions that yield desired data types

About the Speakers
Chris Ellis, PhD, NOAA Office for Coastal Management
Chris is a social scientist with NOAA’s National Ocean Service, based in Charleston, SC. His training is in environmental sociology, survey design and implementation, recreation and tourism choice behavior, organizational behavioral networks, and social-psychological interaction with the coast. He has extensive experience in working with state and local municipalities to build capacity in coastal conservation, and community resilience. He also has a portfolio of projects that lend technical assistance to the National Weather Service to enhance its social science capacity. Working currently for NOAA, and formerly for both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, he has gained unique perspectives of how the public and institutions understand, perceive, and use natural resources, particularly in coastal areas. He is an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston, where he works with students on an array of human dimensions-based research topics. Chris received his PhD in 2005 from East Carolina University.

Brenna Sweetman, NOAA Office for Coastal Management
Brenna is social scientist with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management based at the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, AL. Her work focuses on integrating social science to support sound decision-making to address complex coastal and water resource challenges. Through partnerships, collaboration and the integration of social and natural sciences, she works to better understand the data, tool and information needs to protect and maintain coastal communities, ecosystems and economies. Prior to working with NOAA, she worked in Central America on coastal and marine natural resource management topics and instructed environmental education. She holds a Master’s in Geography from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Spanish from the University of Pittsburgh.

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The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), established by Section 315 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended. Additional information about the system can be obtained from the Estuarine Reserves Division, Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1305 East West Highway - N/ORM5, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements.