Surveys are a useful way to gauge the opinions of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE's) target audiences. 

Why Use Surveys?

Surveys can help you answer questions such as:

  • Who is using the product or service?
  • What are they trying to accomplish with the product or service?
  • How satisfied are they with the product or service?
  • How can we improve the product or service?

Survey Approvals

Any survey that polls more than 10 members of the public will need to get approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Visit Paperwork Reduction Act for Surveys and User Research for more information. 

Planning Your Survey

  • What is the purpose of my survey? Understanding what you hope to get out of your survey will help you choose the right questions.
  • How long does it need to be? We recommend limiting your survey to 15 questions or less to improve completion rates.
  • How long should I run it? Typically, we run our qualitative surveys until the answer percentages for key questions begin to stabilize (often three to six weeks).
  • How will I advertise it? Often, we advertise our surveys via our website and/or through appropriate email lists.

Writing Your Survey

When writing survey questions, follow these best practices:

  • Ask simple questions using clear language.
  • Ask your most important questions first.
  • Ask for only the data you really need and will use.
  • Ask questions in a format that you can analyze. Open-ended questions can be valuable for explanations, but are hard to analyze; limit the number of open-ended questions to only those you really need.

Personally Identifiable Information

Only collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as email, phone number, or address, if you need it for analysis. Any PII you collect must be stored on a Department of Energy server that has been certified and accredited.

Getting Approval for your Survey

Before you code your survey, you will need to get approval to run it from the Web Governance Team.

You'll need to submit two forms:

Send these to the Web Governance Team Facilitator. During your WGT meeting, you'll be asked to explain your project, your questions, your stakeholders, your costs, the number and type of participants, and the amount of PII you'll be gathering. 

The WGT will give you its initial approval and will confirm whether you need DOE's Chief Information Office and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. They will also estimate, based on their past experience, whether your survey might qualify for OMB's Fast Track process.

Building Your Survey

Once you have approval from the WGT and OMB (if needed) you can code your survey.

EERE typically uses Alchemer (formerly called Survey Gizmo) or Survey Monkey, which collect and aggregate the results of your survey for you automatically.

Contact the Web Governance Team Facilitator if you'd like to have your survey built in Alchemer or Survey Monkey. You will be provided access to the tool to edit your questions and run reports after the data is collected.