Blue Instructions for Faculty
Adding Questions and Changing Survey
The instructor of each course section has the opportunity to add questions approximately two weeks before their survey starts (see SIRS procedures and deadlines for more information). Instructors can also change the dates the survey will run.
All questions must be added before the survey start date. You will receive an email when you are able to go in to change survey dates and add additional questions (typically two weeks before the survey begins). The link within the email will bring you to your Dashboard in Blue. You can also go to the Dashboard in Blue by clicking on the following link: https://sirs.ctaar.rutgers.edu/blue (link will open in a new tab or window) - and if necessary log in with your Rutgers NetID.
Directions: Adding Questions or Changing Survey Dates
View as powerpoint with step by step instructions below, or
- download a printable guide (PDF)
- Quick instructions for changing dates
- Quick instructions for adding questions
Designing your own questions
The Student Instructional Ratings Survey is intended to assist faculty in collecting information from students about their teaching and their courses, and the statistical summary of responses are shared with the student population at the SIRS Results web site. Additional questions should be consistent with that purpose.
Remember, if you add many extra questions, students may not complete them, i.e. “survey fatigue”. You can currently add a maximum of 10 additional questions, however we recommend no more than 5.
When designing your own questions for surveys, you should decide what is the main issue to be addressed by the question. Make your questions specific. Each concept or idea to be addressed should be in a separate question.
- Keep the language simple and clear.
- Use words that do not need interpretation; instead of “often,” “sometimes,” “usually,” “recently,” “a lot,” etc., Use objective measures like “once a week.”
- Avoid leading questions, e.g. “Don’t you agree that our tests are fair?”
- Don’t combine concepts into one question, for example, “The textbook is easy to read and affordable.” Make that statement two questions.
- There are many formats for questions available that you can choose from. There are two main categories: “structured” with choices for responses and “unstructured” or open-ended questions.
When using structured questions, use appropriate scales with a “Neutral” or “N/A” or “Not Sure” choice. Failing to include such an option presents ambiguity to the students. Give them a clear set of choices
Be consistent with use of scales. The sirs form uses A five point scale. If you choose to use a different scale, e.g. seven point, then use that consistently for the questions that you design.
Open-ended questions should address one concept or idea at a time.
Don’t overuse the open-ended questions. This can lead to survey fatigue, unclear responses, or responses that are redundant or too brief to be useful.
Additional Resources on Question Design:
- The Pew Research Center provides guidelines for question development, structured and open-ended questions, and question wording.
- Qualtrics Survey Tool has 4 Common Sense Tips for Creating Surveys that Work.
- Survey Monkey has Tips for Writing Good Survey Questions.
Please contact CTAAR (848) 932-7466 firstname.lastname@example.org please replace brokenmail with docs.rutgers.edu with any questions or if you would like to discuss question design.