The Survey Checklist (Manifesto)

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Checklists can mitigate a multitude of high-cost mistakes in fields ranging from surgery to aviation. As part of a standard protocol, checklists may provide many benefits, including improved equity and communication among team members and more efficient integration of different processes during complex tasks. Mostly, though, checklists serve as easy, efficient means to remind professionals of what they already know but can easily forget. By improving processes, checklists can reduce procedural errors, miscommunications, and even deaths. Although the stakes of writing a survey are rarely as high as they are for performing surgery or piloting a plane, checklists can improve the quality of surveys in medical education. In this Perspective, the authors propose a survey checklist to serve the same core function as surgical checklists—to reduce error. That is, a survey checklist can help medical education practitioners and researchers gather more accurate responses. Designers can use the checklist in the appendix to guide item creation processes or to help evaluate the quality of existing surveys. The checklist focuses on formulating items, crafting response options, and formatting/organizing the whole survey.

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