Summer 1987 // Volume 25 // Number 2 // Tools of the Trade // 2TOT2

Previous Article Issue Contents

Conducting Surveys


Robert J. Florell
Extension Specialist, Evaluation
Cooperative Extension Service
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


How To Conduct Surveys: A Step-by-Step Guide. Arlene Fink and Jacqueline Kosecoff. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications, 1985. 117 pp. $12.00 paperback.

How To Conduct Surveys accurately offers excellent "how-to" guidelines for conducting evaluation projects. It serves as a "road map" for the novice and provides an excellent review for an experienced evaluator.

A detailed explanation of the evaluation process; unfolds chapter by chapter. The chapters are:

  • "Conducting Surveys: Everyone Is Doing It"
  • "The Survey Form: Questions, Scales, and Appearance"
  • "Getting It Together: Some Practical Concerns"
  • "Sampling"
  • "Survey Design: Environmental Control"
  • "Analyzing Data from Surveys"
  • "Presenting the Survey Results"

A useful feature is the overview at the beginning of each chapter. For example, the overview for "Sampling" tells the reader the chapter will cover probability and nonprobability sampling, simple random sampling, cluster sampling, size of sample, sampling error, desirable response rates, and suggestions for improving response rates.

Fink and Kosecoff write in the preface, "We are confident that following the rules and principles of this book can result in sound surveys." They explain that the content of the book was derived from a variety of technical and non-technical sources. The authors' purpose was to simplify technical subject matter and convert it into a basic, understandable form. In my opinion, they succeeded.