Tip #2: consider replacing your pre/post survey with a REtrospective survey...but only under certain conditions
Do you use traditional pre/post surveys to assess programmatic impact on participants? If so, you might have encountered the following known problems:
Retrospective Surveys to the Rescue!
Retrospective surveys, by contrast, ask participants to compare their attitudes before the program to after. Because a participant completes a retrospective survey in one sitting, responses are more complete. Not only is there a higher completion percentage with this method, but it also has been found to reduce the Response Shift Bias in participants. Also, isn't it A LOT easier to administer one survey instead of two? You bet! Evaluators love the simplicity of one survey...and instructors and program directors do not need to sacrifice as much time to administer the survey. Less burden all around!
Major Advantages...and more Accurate?
In several of my projects, the retrospective survey had clear advantages over the pre/post survey. It yielded more complete datasets and higher response rates. Also, the data from retrospective surveys seem to align more "accurately" to qualitative data.
Are retrospective surveys the answer to all of our problems? Well...not exactly! There are certain conditions that make the retrospective survey unusable and frankly inaccurate:
More research is clearly needed on this topic. But, there are so many advantages to using retrospective surveys over traditional pre/post surveys; the good might outweigh the bad.
What do you think?
Hi y'all! I'm Shelly Engelman, Ph.D.