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Jacquelyn Christensen on Wordle and Survey Anchors

My name is Jacquelyn Christensen and I am an Evaluation Associate at a non-profit mental health agency in Los Angeles, as well as an advanced graduate student in Applied Developmental Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. I work closely with my organization to report program outcomes and monitor service quality. When working directly with staff or clients, I must find creative ways to involve them in the evaluation process and promote accuracy during data collection.

Rad Resource: When presenting information to staff, I often try to make seemingly uninteresting information visually stimulating. For a recent presentation of data from staff feedback regarding new software, I compiled all of the qualitative comments regarding their positive and negative experiences with the software and created a “word cloud” using Wordle. This “picture” acted as the cover page and introduction to the presentation. I received overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff who felt it not only piqued their interest, but accurately represented their thoughts and ideas.

Rad Resource: Surveys are an inevitable part of my data collection, and, despite clear wording and simple organization, I have found people often read quickly, resulting in a discrepancy between their item responses and qualitative feedback. For Likert-type scale responses on our client (and some staff) surveys, I have placed a smiling face above “Strongly Agree” and a frowning face above “Strongly Disagree” as a visual reminder of the direction of the scale. Since doing this, I have noticed a great improvement in the congruence of the quantitative and qualitative responses.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

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  • Tweets that mention Jacquelyn Christensen on Wordle and Survey Anchors - AEA365 -- · January 31, 2010 at 1:24 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Evaluation Headlines, sharliethomas, Free Survey Ebook, Mark Davids, Mark Davids and others. Mark Davids said: Jacquelyn Christensen on Wordle and Survey Anchors – AEA365: Rad Resource: Surveys are an inevitable part of my da… […]


  • Author comment by Marcus · January 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Jacquelyn,

    Great tools, indeed. I think your “rad resource” of smiley faces for Likert-scaling is an interesting one. In fact, there is a measure of job satisfaction created in the 70’s called the “faces scale”. It’s truly an interval-level scale, as it has 11 responses. What makes it interesting is that for each scaling point, the face just slightly changes from satisfied (a large smile) to dissatisfied (a big frown). There’s been a ton of research on it, and it’s typically perceived to be one of the best global measures of job satisfaction currently out…


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