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RCGP Quick guide: Diagnostic Survey

Published: 20th December 2016

A diagnostic survey is frequently used method used to identify the needs of the target group.

Before embarking on any change a survey can identify the opinions of your patients or team members in any improvement area. This can then identify the specific elements of that area that need to be improved derived from the people that may be most affected.

Download RCGP Quick guide: Diagnostic Survey

How to

Below are considerations when considering conducting a survey:

  • Ensure your objectives for conducting the survey are clear and are clearly stated on the questionnaire.
  • Include instructions on how it is to be completed and by when.
  • Keep the questionnaire as short as possible while also allowing enough information to be collected.
  • Asking two or more questions about the same aspect can increase the reliability of the results, but you will want to balance this against creating too long a survey that no-one completes.
  • Try to ensure each question is clear, concise, covers only one idea, avoids jargon and is unbiased.
  • You can ask open or closed questions.
  • An example of an open question would be to ask respondents to complete free text comments to a question. This can be a source of new information, but will take longer to analyse.
  • A closed question can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase. For example, you may wish to discover how the respondents rate their knowledge on a subject from ‘very knowledgeable’ through, say, five stages to ‘no knowledge’.
  • If presenting a selection of answers, check that you have covered all possible answers or added an ‘Other’ option.
  • Test your survey with a few people before it is launched.
  • If a sample is used, check that it is large enough in size to allow meaningful analysis, and that its selection is bias-free.
  • You can employ free-to-use internet survey websites and their webpages provide further guidance on designing a questionnaire and on conducting a survey.

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