• Presentation

Okay, We Have Permission … Now How Do We Administer This Survey?


Bailey-Stone, L. K., & Durocher, B. L. (2011, May). Okay, We Have Permission =65533 Now How Do We Administer This Survey?. Presented at AAPOR 2011, Phoenix, AZ.


The purpose of this presentation is to discuss various methods for conducting in-school student surveys. We will point out the advantages and disadvantages of using different methods for a variety of school populations, depending on the type of survey being administered (sensitive issues versus academic achievement).

Surveying students in schools is a multiple-part process. Parent permission forms are distributed and returned and eligible students are identified. Then, the survey administrators must decide, in concert with the school, when to conduct the survey and how to best organize the survey administration setting while taking into consideration each school’s bell schedules, cafeteria uses, and teacher attitudes about students missing class. In this presentation, we discuss various methods of administering surveys to students, the logistics involved in each, and their relative advantages and disadvantages. We’ll share some techniques survey staff can incorporate into each of the methods to make the survey a smooth process (from creating hall passes and word searches to using tent cards to flow the kids in smoothly), and lessen the overall burden on school staff and resources.

In some schools, students are surveyed in individual classrooms, while in others they are surveyed in small groups. In still others, schools prefer to survey all students at once in large group settings. Each of these methods can be successful, but all present their own issues. There is no right or wrong way to conduct student surveys in schools. The decision about the methodology to use is a decision that is best made by school administrators and the survey staff. We will aim at providing field-tested ways of dealing with the challenges for each method and/or preventing potential pitfalls.