To develop a high-quality survey that is tailored to the country, follow these four steps:

  • Step #1: Develop an offline Core Questionnaire in the survey’s primary language.
  • Step #2: Translate the Core Questionnaire into other languages.
  • Step #3: For voice surveys, create audio recordings in all languages.
  • Step #4: Load the content (SMS text, Voice audio files) in the online tool.

This checklist enumerates the steps for Step #1: The Core Questionnaire. The Core Questionnaire is the foundation of the survey. It is essential to have a final Core Questionnaire before translation, audio recording, or loading content in the tool.

Steps to Create a Core Questionnaire

  • Begin with an offline spreadsheet (download example here).
  • For each step, enter (1) SMS text, (2) IVR text, (3) skip logic, (4) variable name, (5) serial number, (6) version number, and (7) special instructions.
  • For any SMS messages that are more than 160 characters: Break the text into multiple messages and include a counter. For example, “1/2” indicates this is the first of two messages.

  • Enter the “Quota Completed Messages” text. For surveys with quotas, respondents will receive this message if their particular quota group is full.
  • Enter the “Error Messages” text. Respondents receive this text if they enter an invalid response to a survey question.
  • To assure the quality of the Core Questionnaire, check the following:
  • The entire survey team has reached consensus on the questionnaire. Translation and audio recording should not begin until the Core Questionnaire is completed.
    • The SMS and IVR wording should convey the same meaning.
    • The SMS and IVR questionnaires should have the same response options.
    • All SMS messages should be 160 characters or less.
    • Ensure skip logic is accurate.
    • Ensure that proper grammar and punctuation are used.
  • Ensure that the proper conventions are in place for the questionnaire ie italicized preamble text, all caps for skips and programming text, etc.
  • The best quality assurance will occur when two or more people read the questionnaire content together out loud comparing the primary and translated messages. This will allow for issues to be resolved in real-time.
  • Create unique IDs for each piece of text and audio. This is a combination of each variable’s serial number, language, variable name and version number.
  • Update ID numbers as questionnaire text is changed. Any time a change is made to the content, add a row to the Master Questionnaire Spreadsheet and list the subsequent version number and updated text.