And the question is... Evaluating the Validity of a Survey

Surveys are an important tool when doing research and learning to evaluate information. In this lesson, students consider the purpose and meaning of surveys, learn what types of questions are asked, evaluate the validity of a specific survey, and write in their journals to reflect on what they have learned. This full lesson plan focuses on three aspects: Exploring the meaning and purpose of surveys in writing and through discussions, improving comprehension of how surveys work by learning what types of questions are asked when conducting surveys, and finally determining the validity of a survey and its conclusions by reading, discussing, and analyzing the results. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3001.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3001.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3001.5.5
Analyze written and oral communication for persuasive devices.
CLE 3002.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3003.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
GLE 0406.2.4
Understand and use the connections between fractions and decimals.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Student Objectives:

Students will

  • Explore the meaning and purpose of surveys in writing and through discussions.
  • Improve comprehension of how surveys work by learning what types of questions are asked when conducting surveys.
  • Determine the validity of a survey and its conclusions by reading, discussing, and analyzing the results.
  • Improve skills in critical thinking, respectful dialogue, and reflective writing.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding
Extension suggestions: 

Extensions:

  • Conduct the companion lesson "And the Question Is... Writing Good Survey Questions" to enable students to continue examining effective survey questions and to create their own survey to administer to classmates.
  • To reinforce real-life application of the knowledge and skills attained in this lesson, have students analyze other surveys. Some examples are available from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
  • Ask students to analyze a news broadcast (perhaps using an online transcript) to determine what could have been added or eliminated to present the information differently. Also, what kind of survey information might have contributed to more information for the broadcast?

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Overhead projector and transparencies, LCD projector, or a whiteboard (optional)

References

Contributors: