An initial consultation is the first step for investigators interested in using Survey Research Center services. Consultations are available at no charge to Mayo Clinic researchers.

Consultations may include advising and discussion about:

  • Research aims and objectives
  • Structure of the research, including consideration of alternative study plans
  • Study populations
  • Appropriate sampling techniques, including whether respondents should be identified or anonymous
  • Appropriate survey methods, such as written or web-based questionnaires or telephone or personal interviews
  • Appropriate contact protocols and use of incentives
  • Data analysis options
  • Project timeline and estimated budget
  • Institutional Review Board documentation

To schedule a consultation, contact the Survey Research Center.

Survey design

Writing effective survey questions is both an art and a science. Working closely with each investigator, the Survey Research Center crafts a survey instrument that takes into account:

  • What information is being sought
  • Who'll be answering the questions
  • How the survey will be conducted
  • What types of data analysis are needed

Before fielding a survey to the full sample, the Survey Research Center can ensure its scientific integrity by testing questions on a small subsample. This can be done using qualitative methods, such as focus groups or in-depth interviews; quantitative methods, such as statistical item analysis; or both.

As needed, the Survey Research Center can help write effective cover letters or telephone scripts. Questionnaires can be formatted as paper booklets or scannable forms or for access via the internet. Survey Research Center staff members are also knowledgeable about instruments in the public domain that have been proved valid and reliable and from which investigators can draw questions.

Survey implementation

The center is equipped to implement several types of surveys:

  • Interview-administered surveys. Primarily telephone-based surveys are offered, but face-to-face interviews can be arranged.
  • Self-administered surveys. Web-based, paper and pencil, and scannable forms are available.


In collaboration with statisticians in the Mayo Clinic Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, the Survey Research Center can develop an appropriate sampling strategy that's tailored to the investigator's specific research questions. Strategies include random sampling, stratified sampling of list-based frames, cluster sampling or other more-complex designs.

Tracking and locating

Using web-based information sources and hands-on investigative research methods, the center can help investigators obtain updated telephone numbers and addresses of respondents as well as vital statistics of the survey population. Death certificates can be ordered upon request.

Statistical analysis

Survey Research Center staff members work with Mayo Clinic Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics staff to provide any statistical analysis services needed by the investigator, including data entry, basic percentage tabulations or complex multivariate statistics.

Presentation of results

As needed, the Survey Research Center can assist investigators in presenting survey results. This can range from a basic statistical report that shows response percentages to a more elaborate narrative report with cross-tabulations, graphs, statistical models and a discussion of the findings. The center can also assist in professional briefings.