Survey Method: Requirements Gathering Techniques

The Survey Method is an electronic or paper based method of soliciting needs or requirements from stakeholders.  The survey method is a list of questions, directed at identifying stakeholder needs or requirements.

Survey Method Advantages 
1. A survey can reach a large number of stakeholders or other sources of information.
2. A survey is an excellent tool to gather a significant amount of focused data in a short period of time.
3. Survey method can provide good results when used to validate assumptions after the use of the interviewing technique.
4. A Survey method is a good tool to gather statistical preference data.
5. A survey requires little scheduling effort.
6. A survey requires little stakeholder commitment of time and effort.

1. The response level is often low, especially to large surveys.
2. Responses are usually limited to the realm of the questions asked, which reflect the analyst’s preconceived ideas or assumptions of the survey designer.
3. Well-made surveys require trained and experienced personnel to develop.
4. Development time can be significant.
5. Conflicts and inconsistencies in information from stakeholders require additional analysis to resolve.

Survey Method Process
1. Decide what you want to know and how you will analyze the data before you develop questions.
2. Look for questions or ideas from other sources to inspire the writing of your method
3. Write questions to be as specific as possible.  Use simple, straightforward language.  Avoid the use of jargon or terminology specific to a few people.
4. Write short questions to ensure reader understanding, including:
- Limit the number of choices available to a question to five or less (if applicable).
- Offer a "don't know" or "no opinion" option, so people do not invent answers.
- Vary the format of the questions to keep people interested.
5. When you have written the survey questions, it is important to test them to make sure that the language is current, the questions are not biased, and the questions are relevant to the purpose of the survey.  Deliver the set of questions to the stakeholder for their response.  Provide a date by which the answers are to be returned. 

Author Role 
The survey method author is responsible for crafting questions to solicit the needs and requirements from stakeholders.  Once the answers have been received, the author is responsible for recording the answers into a document for confirmation by the survey method respondents.
To develop a useful method, the writer should be familiar with the purpose of the evaluation and ideally have some experience with developing surveys.

The stakeholder is responsible for answering the questions and verifying the resulting information presented by the author for confirmation.

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