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Questionnaire Design Research Laboratory The Questionnaire Design Research Laboratory (QDRL) is a department within the National Center for Health Statistics that conducts question evaluation studies in order to test and develop survey questions. QDRL staff design, conduct, and lead studies to isolate and define patterns of question interpretation, types of response error, and potential for bias in cross-national or cross-cultural populations. These evaluation studies inform survey managers and data users what constructs the survey questions are capturing, thus allowing them to better interpret survey estimates.

The primary evaluation method used in the QDRL is Cognitive Interviewing , although other qualitative and quantitative methods are used as well. The QDRL is uniquely equipped to conduct a variety of qualitative and quantitative research projects.


Principle Activities of the QDRL

  • Question Development and Evaluation Projects: The QDRL conducts cognitive testing and other pretest methodologies in support of evaluating and developing reliable surveys for NCHS and external agencies
  • Methodological Research: The QDRL researches and refines question evaluation methods refine pretest methods while also working to better understand the question response process and survey response error.
  • Development of Technology Products: The QDRL developed software to improve qualitative data collection, analysis, and to increase the accessibility and transparency of question evaluation studies.


Why do survey questions need to be tested?

Evaluating survey questions is vital to establishing reliability and validity in survey instruments and, more importantly, in the conclusions made from the survey data. Question evaluation also reduces non-response error. Many public health decisions depend heavily on survey data; thus it is extremely important that survey questions are properly evaluated and survey data is interpreted with that evaluation in mind. Click here to learn more about Question Evaluation


Who does the QDRL work with?

The QDRL conducts question development and question evaluation studies for NCHS as well as external agencies. Learn more about how to Work With Us.


What's New?

Cognitive Interviewing Methodology by Kristen Miller, Valerie Chepp, Stephanie Willson, and Jose-Luis Padilla will be available for purchase early Fall 2014.