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Surveys are a useful way to gauge the opinions of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE's) target audiences. However, surveys require several levels of approvals. First, surveys need EERE's Web Governance Team approval. In addition, they often need approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which can take several months to complete.

Developing a Survey

First, decide what questions you will ask and how you want to promote your survey. If you would like to see examples of other EERE surveys, contact the Web Usability Coordinator. It is also helpful to refer to our usability project templates page.

Decide What Size of Survey You Need

Any survey that polls more than 10 members of the public will need to get approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A member of the public is any individual who is not employed by the federal government. Surveys of less than 10 individuals can be posted as soon as they have been approved by the Web Governance Team (WGT).

The OMB approval process can take one of two tracks—the fast track process that results in a faster approval, or the regular submission process that will require public notification in the Federal Register.

Surveys that require OMB review via the fast track process can take up to 3 months to get approval. Surveys that are not approved for fast track can take considerably longer.

Personally Identifiable Information

Before you create your questions, you should know how Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is defined and whether your survey is asking for any. You can collect low-risk PII, such as a respondent's email, phone number, or address, but you should only collect PII that you know you need for analysis. Any PII you collect must be stored on a DOE server that has been certified and accredited.

See the Personally Identifiable Information page for more information.

Getting Approval for your Survey

Before you code your survey, you will need to get approval to run it.

The Web Governance Team

Your first review will be with the Web Governance Team (WGT). 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. (Note that you only need to attend one WGT meeting to get that team's approval.)

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.

If your survey does not require OMB approval, you can code your survey after this meeting.

The Office of Management and Budget

If your survey does require approval from OMB, follow the instructions on the Paperwork Reduction Act page.

Building Your Survey

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

EERE typically uses Survey Gizmo or Survey Monkey, which collect and aggregate the results of your survey for you automatically. These software programs also offer features for analyzing the data, including the ability to run custom reports, cross reference questions, create charts, and combine data sets. Learn more about these tools and how to use them.

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

Additional Resources