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Hi Sara!

Yes that is it exactly. Too many questions make a student feel like they are completing an exam. They usually get half way through, and then drop out of the link. This makes for a lot of unusable results, depending upon what rules you are using in acquiring your data set. (Usually an incomplete = discard entirely). It is also a good idea to survey using the same questions at different points in the academic year, especially when targeting first year students.

I think one of the best questions I have ever seen was an open answer which asked "If you had [head/director's name] sitting in front of you right now, what you want to tell him/her about what our service means to you??" 

While it did generate a few "who?"s, it also generated some very interesting responses, and gave us a good view of our office perception in the eyes of students. 

Sue

On 05/01/12, Sara Weertz  <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Sure M.E. (Thank you for asking, because I see I pressed the Send button a little too soon on that last post.)
> 
> You want to limit the number of survey questions for the same reason you provide rating options (agree/disagree, true/false, Likert scales) and frequency descriptors (sometimes, occasionally, rarely...). You want to create a survey that's quick and easy to complete. A survey with too many questions, covering too much material, will turn-off respondents. After awhile they get bored or overwhelmed. Ever hear of survey fatigue? Today's student feels bombarded with surveys. They understand YOUR need to survey THEM, but WIIFM? (What's in it for me?) Too many questions creates apathy and your respondents no longer care about their answers.  The key to limiting your survey questions is designing a simple two-step plan:
> 
> 	1) Focus your survey.  What do you want to know? In John Cleveland's case, he wants to query students about tutoring, in particular their reason 	for not using the service. Dorothy Briggs gives great advice: don't bother with survey questions that garner information you can get through 	your Student Information System (i.e., grades, classification, major) or questions about your service that you're not willing to change. (For 	example, if your tutor center is closed on the weekend and you're not about to change that policy, don't ask questions about hours of 	operation.) 
> 
> 	2) Keep the survey focus in mind when you draft your questions. Several colleagues have suggested asking questions about the following:
> 
>         	A) Past experience with tutoring
>         	B) Other services used
>         	C) Academic/study skill weaknesses
>         	D) Student's perception of tutoring 
> 
> If you want to know if there is a magic number (or how many questions is too many), see this blog: http://blog.surveymonkey.com/blog/2011/12/13/how-many-questions-do-people-ask/
> 
> Hope this helps.
> sal
> 
> Sara Weertz
> Executive Director, First Year Experience Program 
> Angelo State University
> Member, Texas Tech University System
> ASU Station #11004
> San Angelo, TX  76909
> (325) 942-2595  X-387
> [log in to unmask]
> 
> ********************************************************************
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] <[log in to unmask]]> On Behalf Of M.E. McWilliams
> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 5:40 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Questions for a focus group of students who didn't come for tutoring
> 
> Hey friend Sara!
> 
> Can you elaborate more on this statement:  Just be careful of the number of questions on your survey.
> 
> wOO HoO!
> M.E. McWilliams
> AARC Tutoring Center Director
> FACEBOOK US!
> Stephen F. Austin State University
> 936 468 1439
> 
> The views and opinions expressed in this message are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Stephen F. Austin State University, its Board of Regents, or the State of Texas.
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] <[log in to unmask]]> On Behalf Of Sara Weertz
> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 11:25 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Questions for a focus group of students who didn't come for tutoring
> 
> John,
> 
> Several have offered excellent suggestions for focus group/survey questions.
> I would like to offer some practical considerations. The first is that focus groups and surveys are two different instruments--a focus group is a collaborative effort and a survey is individual. Second, unless you take your focus group and survey into the classroom, both provide low response rates that can lead to sampling bias. You might want to consider using both to collect student feedback. You can use the same line of questioning on each with follow-up questions and probes for the focus group and Likert-scale ratings for the survey. 
> 
> Second, there are pros and cons to both instruments. Focus groups are, hands down, the best way to collect student feedback, allowing you to ask direct, open-ended questions as well as follow-ups. Focus group participants get to see and hear what other students are saying, which often spurs them to respond and feed off their classmates' responses. You, as well, get to see and hear the students, which plays a big role with your follow-up questions.
> Focus groups are, however, labor-intensive (it takes a lot of prep to make them look effortless). Done properly, you set a date, invite participants, provide an agreement that documents the participants' understanding of the focus group. Not only should you take notes during the focus group (scribes are a good idea), you should tape the focus group conversation for later review and analysis. With all that prior effort, it's a shame that student focus group participation is typically low. You might consider offering some sort of inc!
>  entive--a meal of some sort is always an attraction. 
> 
> Surveys, on the other hand (particularly electronic surveys), are easy to administer. Just be careful of the number of questions on your survey.
> Surveys already have a reputation for providing incredibly low response rates (, you have no mechanism for probes or follow-up questions. You can't see the incongruence with one student's body and verbal language while another student rolls his eyes in response to the question. Qualitative comments on a survey are especially rare. 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] <[log in to unmask]]> On Behalf Of Barbara Kirkwood
> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 10:10 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Questions for a focus group of students who didn't come for tutoring
> 
> How successful were they in their courses? 
> What future plans do they have for education?  
> Will they make any changes in what they do as far as academic support in future semesters?
> What would have made them take the step to come for academic assistance?
> Did they see an advisor?
> Did they meet with an instructor?  Would it have encouraged them to get tutoring if an instructor had suggested it?
>  
> I would want to know if they were actively failing (attending classes, doing the homework and reading) or if they quit attending.
>  
> I would love to hear what insights you gain.
> Barb
>  
> Barbara L.S. Kirkwood
> Teaching-Learning Center
> Prince George's Community College
> Largo, MD.
> 301.322.0464
> 
> >>> [log in to unmask] 04/30/12 10:55 AM >>>
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> Beginning last semester, I reached out to student by email who had been flagged in our first alerts program as having academic difficulty and encouraged them to come for tutoring.  A recent assessment of one of the outreached showed that at least one group of students did not come for tutoring.  I would like to put together a small focus group of them and send them a brief survey.  Besides the obvious question of why they did not come for tutoring, what other questions should I ask?
> 
> Thanks for your help,
> 
> John Cleveland
> 
> John P. Cleveland, M.T.S., M.A.
> Director, Tutoring Center
> Center for Academic Excellence
> & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Pace University
> 41 Park Row, Room 204
> New York, NY  10038
> (212)346-1407 (phone)
> (212)346-1520 (fax)
> [log in to unmask]
> www.pace.edu/tutoring
> [division logo.jpg]
> [Facebook
> Badge]<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Student-Success-at-Pace-University/5551
> 2637522>[twitter_logo_header]<http://twitter.com/PaceSUCCESS>
> 
> 

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