PI: Art Graesser

Confusion During LearningMuch important government funding, marketing decisions, and health policies are guided by facts gathered through surveys and questionnaires. But how many times have you been confused by the wording in a survey question? What kind of an effect do badly written questionnaire items have on the important decisions made from them?

The actual effects would be difficult to gauge, but basically, bad questions = bad data. This is why the IIS produced QUAID (Question Understanding Aid).

This software program is designed to help survey methodologists, social scientists, and designers of questionnaires to improve the wording, sentence structure, and significance of questions. Researchers can enter survey questions on the Web, and QUAID analyzes them for potential problems people might have in understanding them.

For example, unfamiliar technical terms, complex sentence structures, and overlong sentences might require the reader to juggle too much at a time. Based on QUAID's review, survey researchers can then decide on what particular changes to make to the question.

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Past Funding:

  • Developing and Testing a Computer Tool that Critiques Survey Questions. Funding Agency: NSF. $205,990.
  • Development of a Tool for Improving Survey Questions. Funding Agency: U.S. Census Bureau. $58,512.


Selected Publications:

  • Graesser, A. C., Cai, Z., Louwerse, M., & Daniel, F. (2006). Question Understanding Aid (QUAID): A web facility that helps survey methodologists improve the comprehensibility of questions. Public Opinion Quarterly, 70, 3–22.
  • Graesser, A. C., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Kreuz, R., Wiemer-Hastings, P., & Marques, K. (2000). QUAID: A questionnaire evaluation aid for survey methodologists. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 32, 254–262.