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SurveyTester is a Web-based platform for coordinating the activities of multiple reviewers/testers and survey scripters during the design and testing of a survey project. One of the recommended stages of survey development is often referred to as pilot testing.

Pilot test the survey. #

The purpose of pilot testing is to obtain feedback regarding the wording, structure, format, etc. of the survey.  During pilot testing, you should ask respondents to complete the survey and time how long it took them.  Testers can provide insights regarding terminology that was confusing, formatting changes that would make the survey more user-friendly, content that was offensive, order of the questions, length of the survey, variety of questions, questions to add/delete, and other suggestions for improvements.

In most agencies, the process of testing and updating a survey is a seemingly endless series of meetings or e-mails with comments, suggestions, corrections, revisions, and duplication of effort. Tracking the e-mails themselves is difficult; organizing their contents is almost impossible.

For example, in a Web-based survey that a programmer has built, the link is supplied to several individuals who are asked to log in, open a URL, and review or test the survey. Those reviewers typically keep their notes on a paper copy of the survey, or in a pending e-mail message. When they are done testing, an e-mail message is sent to other team members, some of whom may have found and reported the same issue. The process is repeated several times.

It is a circular process: test, e-mail, (or even worse, call a meeting), fix, re-test, e-mail…

SurveyTester eliminates the traditional inefficient use of pen and paper or e-mail, moving the testing of surveys to a more efficient Web-based environment. As soon as a reviewer finds an issue, the other programmers and reviewers are informed of its existence. Reviewers doing simultaneous testing know they need not report that issue, and the programmer, or one of a team of programmers, can immediately start fixing issues as soon as they are discovered.

SurveyTester users also found that by analyzing the types of changes needed on their surveys, they were able to pinpoint issues in their scripting process. The tool allowed them to determine how many of the changes were due to the client (or project manager) changing his mind, how many were due to insufficient notes/explanations in the survey document, and how many were actual coding errors. They could also use the information as evidence for requesting additional payment from the client.

All data collected by SurveyTester are stored in an SQL database for easy retrieval and analysis.

SurveyTester functions in conjunction with IBM SPSS Data Collection (Dimensions / UNICOM Intelligence), Confirmit, Kinesis, LimeSurvey, Firefly, Decipher, Rogator, Nebu, Voxco, Askia, Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Morar, IRQuest, SurveyWriter, and other Web-based data collection products.

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