Monday, January 15, 2018

Doing Psych: Survey Project

There are lots of calls for "doing psych" but not necessarily the ability due to ethical, time, resources, and financial constraints.

I began this survey project a few years ago when I had a Chromebook cart to use in class for several class periods.  My current school is 1:1 with Chromebooks and it makes the process a whole lot easier.

To expose students to creating surveys, obtaining data, and writing a summary and conclusions about the data gathered.

Equipment/Software: You'll need to be 1:1 with devices the kids can type on--computers, Chromebooks, computer lab all work. You also need access to Google for Education Tools for easiest implementation. My school is a google school--all students have gmail, google drive, and many other tools--they will need google forms/sheets, and google docs for this project.

You may need to teach students how to write survey questions, use google forms/sheets, and recognize bad/poor survey questions.

Process: As a teacher in this project, I provide some basic guidelines and then spend the rest of the time (potentially several days) walking around, checking screens, and asking questions. It is really hard work to constantly be checking student work in class.


1. Do Background Reading:

2. Choose survey topic--get teacher approval

3. Create 5-7 questions--must be closed-ended--include one open-ended question for feedback

4. Obtain feedback from at least 3 other groups and the teacher on how good your questions are--you are looking for feedback to improve the survey--do your questions make sense and help you answer the questions you have.

5. Turn in links to surveys (teacher should have own google form to collect survey links)

6. Every student anonymously takes everyone else's survey to gather data (you can use any/all your classes since data will be used only in your class--none of this will be published)

7. Do a write-up--Student pairs examine the data gathered
  • present the results in numbers form with each question
  • present the data in a graphics format (easily done within google sheets)
  • provide conclusions for each question
  • provide conclusions about the entire survey
8. Students then do a separate reflection on what they learned as a result of doing the project, from choosing a topic to making questions, to analyzing data. What did they learn? This is an important metacognitive piece.


Students may want to choose topics that are too difficult or too sensitive for your school district--use caution and care in allowing what might or might not get you into trouble.

Depending on your patience and your students' backgrounds, you may want to let them struggle with this. You may want to immediately direct students into specific questions--this is a situation by situation basis for me--it depends upon the student(s). Sometimes the struggle of my asking and them answering is worth it. I ask a lot of questions like, "what kind of responses does that question give you" and "you want information X--how does this question get you there?"

Postscript: I first did a version of this assignment back in the late 1980s with my honors sociology courses based upon the work of Paul Schreiner, the previous teacher. All the technological additions and ethical considerations are based upon experience and reading a variety of sources. For the good or the bad, this comes from my brain.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

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