The first and most important step in any research study is the development of the Question Database. To collect good data, you must have a good set of survey questions. If you don’t have a good set of questions…well there is no doubt that the phrase ‘garbage in, garbage out’ was coined for such an application! The process of selecting survey questions can then take several forms, as you may have previous questions that you would like your vendor to review so that you may continue using them in whole or part to preserve historical data. You may have never surveyed before and are beginning ‘from scratch,’ or you may have a very particular focus for your survey, such as Corporate Values, and are not interested in broader feedback. Your input should be used by an Organizational Psychologist to modify a robust question database of the most common issues facing all employee, customer, or market populations. This collaboration is a starting point in developing your custom question database.
The Question Database should include questions that are prescribed by Best Practices in Organizational Development. For employee surveys, these questions pertain to Management Style, Communications, and Engagement. For customer surveys, Intent to Return, Customer Satisfaction, and Products and Services questions are recommended. In addition to being prescribed by Best Practices, some of these questions collect data needed to conduct inferential statistical analyses that provide clients with the shortest route to the most important improvements for the financial success of their organization. The Question Database should be worked until you are confident that the survey will obtain the information needed to accomplish the goals of the study.