Questions to Consider

Before asking for demographic characteristics, it is important to ensure that what’s being asked for falls within the objective of the survey itself.

Those developing surveys should consider the following questions when determining if demographic questions should be asked:

  • Is there a valid business rationale for asking these questions?
  • How will a given demographic characteristic be used in my analysis?
  • Why am I collecting information about the demographic category of interest?
  • Do I need to do cross-tabulations or break down responses by categories?
  • How will I store the data in ways that it will be protected?
  • How will I use or report on the data in ways that will protect the respondents?
  • Can I link responses to data ISU has on file, and therefore do not need to ask respondents for that particular piece of information?

Unless there is a need to delineate by specific characteristics, it is recommended that you do not ask about that characteristic. Also, ensure that all demographic characteristic questions are optional and do not require a response.

If demographic questions are to be asked, then how they will be reported needs to be considered as well.

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