How to Create a Survey for Research

Survey research is a great way to collect data on street harassment and related issues. You can use survey results to create a research report or summary to share with supporters and stakeholders.

  1. Define the aim of your survey.  What key questions are you trying to answer? Example questions include:
    • What is the emotional impact of street harassment?
    • What is the economic impact of street harassment?
    • What is the prevalence of street harassment?
    • How does street harassment affect people differently based on their culture?
    • What is the impact of particular solutions or interventions like media coverage, police reporting, bystander intervention, etc.?
  2. Determine the target demographic for your street harassment survey respondents (e.g. any specific gender, race, or age groups).
  3. Decide on the length of time that your survey will take to complete – 10 minutes is an ideal length. Keep in mind this time length when creating questions. Test the survey out on your friends to determine how long it will take to administer.
  4. Find resources that can help you with creating your survey. For example, you can collect other surveys that address similar issues you are researching.
  5. Choose whether to administer your survey online or on paper. Keep in mind that it may be useful to have paper surveys for respondents who can only be reached via mail, in person, or on the telephone. However, online surveys reduce the printing costs, and respondents have complete anonymity and can take the survey whenever and wherever they choose.
  6. Find a program or resource that you can use to develop your survey (e.g. Survey Monkey).
  7. State your goals and objectives at the beginning of your survey to give respondents insight about your organization and the topic you are researching.
  8. Decide on the response formats you will use for your questions. For example when asking for general or demographic information, you can use a nominal scale that simply names possible responses (like age ranges).

    When asking for a respondent’s opinion on a particular issue, you can use an ordinal scale

    Or you can use open-ended questions

    When you are researching the prevalence of an issue you can use interval questions

    If your survey asks questions that could have more than one answer for respondents, you can instruct them to mark all that apply

    You could also have respondents answer questions that refer to one specific instance of street harassment that happened in the community. (Hollaback! Croatia used this method in their 2012 street harassment survey.)

  9. Create the survey questions once you have decided which response formats will provide the best results for your research.
  10. When asking questions, make sure to refer to specific acts or behaviors rather than using general terms. When researching street harassment, instead of asking have your respondents ever been street harassed, you should ask whether or not strangers have made comments that made them feel uncomfortable.
  11. Determine the order that questions will appear in the survey. Place the questions that will be easiest to answer at the very beginning and end of the survey. Difficult or sensitive questions should appear halfway through the survey.
  12. Distribute the survey to the target demographic you want to reach by gaining access to listervs and advertising the survey on social networking sites. You can mail paper copies to places that have agreed to distribute the survey and pick them up when they are completed, or visit these places and distribute the surveys yourself.
  13. Collect all the data from the survey and calculate the statistics of your results in order to publish the research. You can contact Hollaback! if you need help with this.
  14. Once you publish your research, you can send out a press release, contact other organizations and Hollaback! sites to send out the research results through their networks, or schedule a panel/presentation to discuss the research findings.

Fourteen Hollaback sites internationally have performed research on street harassment. You can check out some of that research here.