Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sources for Survey Questions and Measures

[FYI: I've decided that posting my links lists via blog posts, and editing them as I find more links, is easier than putting them on a static website or using a link service like Diigo. This is my first attempt at that, so the list will be updated and may change shape in the future. I'll add links and take suggestions on display if you have any. Thanks in advance.]

There are a lot of places to find survey questions online. The main two sources are organized, searchable databases (sometimes by topic) and survey documentation websites (where you can view the questionnaires themselves). You can also find them scattered on websites, in publications, and other places. I always advise researchers to remember that they can design their own questions or modify existing ones, and the fact that a question has been used by other researchers doesn't essentially make it a good question (unless your sole purpose is replication).

Here are some of the question repositories and sites I've found most helpful (or recommended by others). Databases and static documentation sites are intermingled below, and sorted by topic when possible.

Descriptions to come as I have time and a chance to use them. Feel free to suggest additions.

General Demographic, Social, and Omnibus Survey, and Poll, Questions

American Community Survey Questionnaire Archive (U.S. Census Bureau)

European Social Survey (ESS) Questionnaire

ICPSR Web Site
We usually think of ICPSR as a data warehouse, but I've found that when you search their database you get question text with summaries of responses. So it serves dual purpose.

iPOLL Databank

A product of NCHS. Holds cognitive interview and pretesting results as well as question text.

Survey Monkey's International Question Bank | SurveyMonkey Blog

Health Survey Questions

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) State-Added Question Database
This is the best place to find state-added BRFSS questions by state and topic

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Questionnaires (CDC)

California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) Questionnaires

Cancer Questions from Grid-enabled Measures (GEM) Database

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) - Questionnaires

NQF: Quality Positioning System 
Used by hospitals for quality of care questions

Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System (PROMIS) Database

Health outcomes measures database sponsored by NIH. See more about PROMIS here 

SHADAC's State Reform Survey Item Matrix (SRSIM)
A well-designed Excel spreadsheet with question text from various states

Religion Survey Questions

Congregational Survey Question Bank

Sexuality Survey Questions

Questionnaire for Gay Sentiment Study

Sexual orientation questions on
The most comprehensive resource for LGBT questions and data sources I've found yet. 


  1. Is there a metadata equivalent with response rates?

  2. Not sure what you mean, Josh? Like a list of response rates of various surveys? That's something I've been wanting to develop but I don't know of a consolidated one. For specific surveys (like CHIS or BRFSS), you can find historical RRs in their methods docs (here's the link to CHIS's Let me know if you meant something else. Maybe this is something we should co-develop. I'm always looking up RRs for one thing or another.