Events at the Richard B. Johnson Center

CORE Workshop Synopses

The two full-day workshops will focus on the nuts and bolts of survey development and use in the field. The workshops explore how social service non-profit and for-profit organizations develop and use surveys for various purposes, including how to evaluate the benefit of the services they provide. The workshops demonstrate how even the smallest organizations can apply scientific principles in the development and use of surveys. The two workshops present different but complementary topics on survey research and design. Evaluation specialists, leaders and directors of social service organizations are encouraged to attend both workshops, although each of the workshops is informative in its own right. Both of the workshops are held at Simmons Hall on the SMU campus.

Practical Applications

Presenter: Dr. Steven Ross
Friday, April 4, 9:00am. - 4:00pm.
Simmons Hall, Room 138
Dr. Steve Ross’s workshop provides an overview of important aspects of survey use in education and social service professions. Dr. Ross addresses the unique strengths of surveys and their limitations. He infuses this content with authentic examples of the effective use (and misuse) of surveys. Dr. Ross discusses the unique attributes that make surveys effective, including ensuring a clear survey purpose, appropriate length and complexity, creating items and selection options that are easy to understand and won’t be misinterpreted, and ways to reduce the chances participants will respond carelessly. Dr. Ross addresses how surveys can be used with other procedures, such as direct observations of behavior or performance to better understand a particular topic. He also addresses the related issue of administering surveys to gain multiple perspectives on a common topic, such as surveying teachers, parents, non-profit support providers, and children about the perceived value of a particular program or policy. The format of the workshop is interactive and includes a combination of presentation content, small group discussions, and hands-on learning opportunities. Samples surveys are reviewed and critiqued.

Rapid Survey Development: Traditional Focus

Presenter: Dr. Neil Abell
Date/Time: Friday, April 25, 9:00am. - 4:00pm.
Location: Simmons Hall, Room 138
Dr. Abell's presentation emphasizes the concept of construct and the design and analysis to achieve reliable and valid measures. In a step-by-step fashion, participants consider how to translate abstractions (e.g., intended intervention outcomes or respondent attitudes and beliefs) into grounded, clearly defined measurable constructs. Dr. Abell also discusses standardized scales as elements of surveys, including strategies for the selection and adaptation of existing measures and the creation of new ones to meet emerging needs. These concepts will help participants understand the best ways to measure a particular construct with the right combination of items. The workshop covers elements of study design, including the number of respondents and how they are selected, issues of informed consent and data collection, and anticipating and conducting analyses regarding validation hypotheses and what the survey data may indicate. Undergirding the concept of valid surveys are important technical considerations, including the degree to which surveys provide reliable results and credible evidence of truly measuring what they are intended to measure. The format of the workshop is interactive and includes a combination of presentation content, small group discussions, and hands-on learning opportunities.