FSW Survey Guidance

FSW's Office of Assessment is a recommended first stop for resources for survey support. We routinely provide survey draft reviews and collaboration in survey building for many different departments. Contact Dr. Joseph van Gaalen for more information (joseph.vangaalen@fsw.edu.


Ask Why, What and Who!

Why am I conducting the survey? What information do I need? Who has the information I need?


Can I obtain part or all of this information in other ways? Ask within your department or team AASPIRE if we might have the data already from other surveys or from our local banner data. This can increase efficiency for you in generating answers as well as greatly reduces survey fatigue for participants.

Creating your Survey

Share, briefly, the purpose of the survey with your participants. Identify a point of contact for any comments or questions that participants may have about the survey and include the contact information. Let participants know how the data will be used. Note if the data will be kept Confidential (identifying information is known by the researcher but not shared) or Anonymous (identifying information is not collected).

Survey Tips

  • Be brief
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Be specific — instead of asking if students spend "a lot" of time studying, ask how many hours a week students usually spend studying.
  • If relying on participants' memory, stick to recent timeframes to increase accuracy
  • Be clear - define all acronyms, unusual vocabulary and vague terms ("often," "quality," "accessible")
  • Be universal — avoid biases by including multiple perspectives


Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A common sense guide. Anker Publishing Company, Inc.


About Qualtrics

Qualtrics is a web-based survey research software licensed by Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) for use by Florida SouthWestern State College faculty, staff, and students.

Qualtrics allows users to conduct research, and collect information for data-informed decisions in support of the College's mission and goals.

  • Surveys - build, distribute, analyze surveys
  • Tests & Quizzes
  • Polls
  • House data
  • Generate charts and graphs

Who can use Qualtrics?

Surveys can be created and distributed by faculty, staff, and students via a Florida SouthWestern State College username and password. Surveys distributed for research to be presented or published publicly must follow guidelines to ensure human rights are protected through Florida SouthWestern State College's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Qualtrics is intended for FSW research purposes only. Personal use is a violation of the College's license agreement with Qualtrics, LLC.

How do I know if my survey needs to go through IRB?

IRB review is required if the human subjects research being conducted is posing greater than minimal risk to participants. Additionally, if the probability and magnitude of harm/discomfort anticipated in the research are greater than those typically encountered in daily life, IRB review is needed. If you are unsure whether an IRB review is needed, please contact the human subjects administrator for FSW, Dr. van Gaalen and visit our FSW IRB webpage.

Examples of surveys that need IRB:

Studying effects of/presenting at a corresponding conference.

Examples of surveys that do not need IRB:

  • Studying effects of/presenting as final project in capstone class.
  • Offering new event on campus and surveying students and attendees afterward for feedback to improve future similar events.

How do I login to a Qualtrics account?

FSW official faculty, staff and students can create a Qualtrics account using a Florida SouthWestern State College username and password. Faculty and staff must self-enroll to create an account by visiting Qualtrics.

Qualtrics Assistance

Qualtrics University - Research Suite

Qualtrics phone support: 1-800-340-9194