How to Create the Proper Survey for Your Psychology Thesis

Blocksurvey blog author
Dec 21, 2023 · 4 mins read

Surveys are one of the most common methods of collecting data for Psychology research. They allow collecting and analyzing information to investigate behaviours, opinions, or theories.

Surveys have plenty of benefits, making them so widespread among researchers. For instance, you need to investigate how often students use a college paper writing service and their reasoning behind it. In this case, you could create a questionnaire with closed or open questions. It would probably show that students often struggle with making time for all assignments or lack confidence in their skills.

It is a common practice among college students to seek professional help, so it would be easy to find a sample for the survey. The primary purpose is to collect and analyze data based on the study’s objective. And this is precisely what surveys allow researchers to do. If you want to incorporate a study in your Psychology thesis, here is how you can do it.

Develop a Hypothesis

Hypothesis means a general idea of the situation you are researching. You need to have a straightforward research question in mind. There should be a well-defined purpose, objective, and goal.

Optionally, you can start with a null hypothesis. It means that you believe that the survey won’t show any significant association between variables. For instance, your null hypothesis can be that there is no significant correlation between the year of college and the likelihood of students using college paper writing services.

Define Variables

This step is a part of the organization of your study. List your variables and come up with distinct definitions for them. Variables must be clear and quantifiable.

At the same time, you can start a literature review to evaluate all previous research in this regard. Please pay attention to the findings of other scientists and how they designed their studies.

It will give you essential context and might provide a better understanding of how to work on your survey.

Identify Population and Sample

The next step is to determine the group of people who will be the target of your research. For example, you can identify your target group as:

  • Second-year college students;
  • Third-generation immigrants of Wisconsin;
  • UK citizens;
  • Netflix customers from 20 to 28;
  • Swedish police officers over 35, etc.

The target group can be narrow or broad depending on resources and objectives. However, it is vital to choose it so that the results can be extrapolated to the whole population. Please pay attention to potential selection and sampling biases and avoid them.

A sample is the exact group of people from the target population you are going to question. After all, it is rarely possible to ask everyone. The sample must be representative. The bigger it is, the more reliable the results are. There are many sampling methods and even sample calculating applications to consider using.

Choose the Survey Type

When you are ready with the research question, target population, and sample, it is time to work on the survey itself. Overall, there are two main options to consider:

  • Questionnaire;
  • Interview.

A questionnaire is structured and has closed questions with a scale of responses. One of the most common scales used is by Rensis Likert (it is called the Likert scale, and you can find it almost anywhere from marketing research to a student presentation).

An example of a questionnaire question is:

“How satisfied are you with our product?

  1. Very satisfied;
  2. Somewhat satisfied;
  3. Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied;
  4. Somewhat dissatisfied;
  5. Very dissatisfied.”

Optionally, you may add variants like “I do not know” or “does not apply” to questions where it makes sense.

Questionnaires provide quantifiable data that is much easier to analyze. They should be at most 15 minutes (it is a golden standard). Also, participants can fill in a questionnaire without the researcher. For instance, they can do it online.

An interview is unstructured and features open questions. The researcher has to conduct the interview; participants cannot fill it in themselves. This method gives more in-depth data, but such data is more challenging to analyze. Here is an example of an interview question:

“Are you satisfied with our product?”

There are no predetermined answers. Respondents answer as openly as they want.

Write Questions

It might be one of the most challenging parts of creating a Psychology survey. The way you structure your questions, what words you will use, and in what order you will give them – it all matters.

When working on questions, consider such factors as:

  • Type of questions;
  • Type of responses (for close-ended ones);
  • What you are asking (and why);
  • How you are asking (wording);
  • The order of questions (start with general ones and proceed to more narrow ones);
  • Layout of the survey.

Responses for close-ended questions could be in the form of binary – yes or no. You can also use answers with specific periods or numbers (How often do you use college writing services? - Once a semester, Once a month, Once a week, etc.). When applicable, offer the opportunity to choose multiple answers.

A well-executed survey must possess validity and reliability. Validity means that the survey can measure what it is supposed to measure. It should go in accord with the hypothesis and variables. Reliability means that the results will be similar in many other administrations.

Pay Attention to the Use of Language

The structure of a question and the wording can influence answers. The general rules of good survey questions are:

  • Ask one thing at a time;
  • Make it simple so that an 8-grader would understand it;
  • Use neutral language; avoid loaded words and terms with significant emotional attachment;
  • Make sure the question would be interpreted the same by each respondent;
  • Avoid double meanings and abstract metaphors;
  • Be clear and specific.

For example, the question “What is your income?” is too vague. Instead, you can ask, “What was your annual income before tax last year?”

Here is another example. Do not ask, “Are you satisfied with your job and your work environment?” because it has two things in one question. Instead, ask about the job and work environment in two separate questions.

Conduct the Survey

After you’ve finished the questionnaire, it is time to distribute it. One of the easiest ways to do it is through the Internet. You can send it via email, create an online tool, or do it in person.

Collect and Analyze the Results

Collect the responses and use an appropriate analysis method. If you used close-ended questions, it would be easy to do via a computer program (SPSS or Stata). Open-ended questions might require a thematic analysis or coding before you put the data into the program.

When the results are ready, you can include them in your thesis, whether you were investigating the best research paper writing service or the correlation between shopping behaviours and college majors.

Make sure to describe your methodology in detail in your thesis. Identify the type of survey along with the types of questions. Describe variables, sampling method, and the way the study was conducted.

In Summary

Creating a survey for a thesis is a time-consuming and multifaceted task. Yet, if done right, it can add immense value to your work. Follow this guide and tips to design your survey.

How to Create the Proper Survey for Your Psychology Thesis FAQ

Why is it important to create a proper survey for my psychology thesis?

A proper survey ensures accurate data collection, which strengthens the validity of your research and increases the credibility of your thesis.

How can I ensure expertise in creating a survey for my psychology thesis?

Seek guidance from experienced professors or researchers in the field of psychology, as their expertise can provide valuable insights and help you design a robust survey.

What steps should I follow to create a proper survey for my psychology thesis?

Start by clearly defining your research objectives, then carefully design your survey questions, ensure appropriate sampling techniques, and conduct pilot testing to refine your survey.

Can I use pre-existing survey templates for my psychology thesis?

While utilizing established survey templates can be helpful, it is crucial to customize them to fit the specific objectives and research questions of your thesis to maintain the necessary rigor and originality.

How can I ensure the validity and reliability of my survey for a psychology thesis?

Implement measures such as conducting pilot testing, utilizing established scales or validated instruments, and applying statistical techniques like Cronbach's alpha to assess internal consistency.

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Vimala Balamurugan

Vimala heads the Content and SEO Team at BlockSurvey. She is the curator of all the content that BlockSurvey puts out into the public domain. Blogging, music, and exploring new places around is how she spends most of her leisure time.


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