Tips For A Successful Pretest

Below are a few tips to help make your next pretest as successful as possible.�While certainly not exhaustive in nature, the following list provides some good starting ground.

  • Let participants know they are taking a pretest.�Respondents can help to refine the survey instrument when they understand that is what they�re being asked to do.

  • Upon survey completion, ask respondents about the flow of the questionnaire and whether it was difficult to complete or boring. Also ask about specific questions, whether they found them confusing or how they interpreted their meaning.

  • Try to conduct one pretest as much like the final survey will be administered as possible.�If the final questionnaire will be mailed to respondents, take the time to mail the survey out for the last pretest.�Doing so will make sure that all elements of the survey administration are being pretested, and will remove any variables that would have the results of your final sampling differ from your pretests.

  • On that note, it is also worthwhile to have, in at least one of your pretests, the sample closely resemble your final sample as possible, even if that means using some of the actual sample.

  • Take a look at frequencies when the pretest is finished.�If there is little to no variance on a particular item, it may not be measuring the intended concept as well as you would like.

  • Look for too many �Don�t Know� responses as a sign of a poorly constructed scale.

  • Last but not least, time the survey.�If the survey is going to take respondents too long, they likely won�t finish it.

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