Gathering and Synthesizing Diverse Survey Data Inclusively


  • To practice gathering data
  • To examine the many possibilities of answers when questioning research subjects
  • To think inclusively about research


  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Flip chart paper/whiteboard/chalkboard
  • Markers/dry erase markers/chalk

Prepare Before


Warm Up

Ask participants, “What is your favorite kind of cold sandwich?  Think about what kind of bread, condiments, vegetables and other things that you would require for your ‘Perfect’ sandwich.  List ALL the ingredients for their perfect sandwich.


Write sandwich ingredient categories on separate sheets of paper (i.e., breads on one sheet, meats on another, and so on).  Divide the participants into small groups of 3-6.  In a carousel style, have groups go around the room and write down their choices for their favorite in each category.  If their choice is already listed, they should put a tally mark next to it.

As a large group, review the sandwich choices.  Bring the large sheets of paper up to the front of the class and tally the results and share the results as a class.


Going by the majority of answers, what is our favorite sandwich? Raise your hand if you would eat this sandwich. Raise your hand if this sandwich is unappealing to you.

How should we decide on the best sandwich? Should the lowest number of ingredients be immediately eliminated? Continue to question the group until they have reached consensus on the perfect sandwich.

If only a small percentage of the community has a need, do you disregard it for the larger group? Why or why not? How do you compromise to meet everybody’s needs?

How do you communicate to those that have their ideas or ingredients cut out of the class sandwich? What do you say to them? What if they refuse to allow their suggestions to be thrown out of the sandwich? What if they want to start their ‘own’ sandwich? What does that mean?

Is this process an accurate way to get results about a topic from a community?


Finding out information can be more complicated than it seems. Getting information does not necessarily mean that you have an answer to your question.


Choose topics for the participants to conduct a survey.  Divide the class into 5 or 6 small groups.  Topic should be simple (e.g., the best color, best shoe manufacturer, best pizza toppings).  Have the participants work together to survey the other members of their class about their topic.

Have each small group make their own chart and practice asking other participants, without bias, questions pertaining to their topic. Once the data is taken, have the groups tally their data findings. Groups will then share out their findings with the rest of the class community.


What part of this process was easy for you? What part of this process was more challenging?