Designing the Survey: Qualitative Research

Over the past few months, I’ve worked with multiple researchers to learn about creating and analyzing data from surveys. I dipped my toes into the water (and got the idea for my project!) by working with a UCSF educational scientist in the UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity. She and her team were analyzing  how climate change is incorporated into university curricula. I helped analyze the data her team had gathered from a survey of UC faculty and their implementation of climate change into their curriculum after a workshop on the topic. This taught me the basics of qualitative research design and the importance of well-written survey questions.

Next, with the help of Mr. Standley, I was able to speak with Mr. Bob Regan, the Director of Education at Gates Ventures. He discussed his own projects, which include free online curriculum development, and helped me parse out my research question. Our conversation also led me to email a writer from NPR about a survey she conducted across the country, and she granted permission for me to incorporate some questions from her national survey into my own research. These conversations with experts helped me design my own research question, “How is climate change incorporated into curricula in Bay Area high schools?”

To answer this question, I began developing my survey. I started out with a rough draft, then ran it by as many adults as I could, including my teachers, to make sure all of the questions were clear and unbiased. I’m hoping to gather responses beyond SHC teachers by using teacher connections here to distribute it around the Bay Area.