Questionnaires are widely used for collecting feedback and can cover all aspects of the design, delivery and assessment of the course of instruction.
Students will be asked to complete a module evaluation by the School, for each module they study. If your teaching is integrated or embedded in a module, ask if you will be permitted to see the feedback. If you would like more detailed, specific feedback on your session, then you may wish to develop your own evaluation tool. Be aware of ‘survey fatigue’, however!
Questionnaires are a common approach to gathering student feedback. They are particularly useful if you…
- wish to obtain feedback on a specific aspect(s) of a session.
- are running a session for the first time.
- are incorporating new content in an established session.
- are using new materials, methods or technology.
- wish to carry out a pre-session audit to gauge the expectations / prior knowledge of students.
Questionnaire design can be complex and is a topic of study in its own right. However, here are some tips:
- Make the aims of the questionnaire clear from the outset.
- Questions should be relevant and appropriate to the aim(s) of the questionnaire – keep it tightly focussed.
- Only ask about aspects of your teaching you are in a position to act on as a result of the responses received.
- Make the questions short, precise and simple to answer. Avoid ambiguity and use straightforward language.
- If possible, use a combination of ‘closed’ and ‘open’ questions:
- Closed questions provide ‘quantitative’ data by offering a choice of answers using tick boxes or requiring responses using a scale or number rating. They are quick to answer and the data is easy to collate.
- Open questions are used for obtaining ‘qualitative’ feedback in the form of stated opinions and comments. Keep these to a minimum as they will take more time to complete and are likely to be ignored by some students.
- Keep it short. Long questionnaires look off-putting and take up too much time to complete at the end of a session.
- The layout should be clear and uncluttered. If paper based, use plenty of space and a generously sized Arial font.
- Conform with the accessibility recommendations for preparing written materials.
Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) can help you with creating online questionnaires and provides templates to help you create questionnaires. To obtain an account, Cardiff University library staf can contact the IT Service Desk at IT-ServiceDesk@cardiff.ac.uk.
If you questionnaire is paper based, draw attention to the questionnaire at the end of the session and collect completed forms before students leave. This will help ensure a high response rate and thus a reliable picture of opinion. If you have used BOS or similar software like Survey Monkey, see if you can use Learning Central or the School’s email lists to disseminate and promote the questionnaire.
In the next section we look at the Classroom Critical Incidence Questionnaire as a further example of gaining feedback.