Dissertation Journal: Draft Survey Instrument

I just sent my draft synopsis and survey instrument to several colleagues to solicit feedback.  I am particularly interested in feedback on the instrument as I am also in the process of completing the IRB documentation I’ll need to pilot the instrument. I have sent the materials to both content experts (student technology professionals) and process experts (survey researchers).  I also sent it to my committee chair-to-be and the project manager of the survey on which I will be piggybacking my instrument.  Importantly (I think), I included some information in the document specifically discussing how the survey instrument was constructed.  I wrote this section both to force me to document the process and to help these reviewers understand the choices I made.

To establish the validity and reliability of the survey before launching it full-scale, I plan to conduct cognitive interviews with five Indiana University undergraduate students before conducting a pilot administration to 60 students.  So in addition to working on IRB documents I am also waiting to here back from our residence life folks regarding how and whether I will be able to advertise my interviews and survey in IU residence halls.  I hope to be able to advertise only in one building.  I work in a large building that is half residence hall and half office space so if I can limit my advertising to this building it will make it very easy for students to participate since they will only have to walk a few hundred feet to either participate in an interview or drop off a survey.  I hope to make it even easier for survey participants by including the surveys with the flyers.

This feels like a really big step as this is the first time I’ve sent out all of this information to so many people.  I feel like I’ve made a commitment now that I have asked so many people to take time to review these materials whereas before this was just all supposition and hollow talk.  It could still fall apart if IRB doesn’t like things, I have difficulty recruiting participants (I am paying them to alleviate this possibility), the interviews or pilots indicate monstrous problems with the instrument, or if this all just takes too long.  But I think I have a fighting chance, especially with all of these awesome people supporting me and offering feedback and assistance.