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Using questionnaires to measure attitudes and behaviours of buildings users

Project summary

This project will study the use of survey questionnaires to collect data on attitudes and behaviours of building users, particularly those behaviours related to sustainability issues and energy consumption. Survey questionnaires are the prevailing data collection method to measure user satisfaction with buildings; however, validity and reliability of current instruments is not known. Designing survey questionnaires is a complex task, and specific knowledge is needed to write effective and understandable survey questions to assure a high level of statistical quality for collected data.

The research objective is to identify existing measurement instruments used by architects and building researchers to collect and understand the needs of building users in the design process and post-occupancy evaluations, assess validity and comprehensibility of existing instruments, then design and assess improved survey questionnaires.

In the project’s first phase, a literature review of relevant works that use surveys or other social science research methods to study building users will be conducted, a collection survey question examples will be compiled, and focus groups with architects and building researchers will be held. In the second phase, survey questions will be selected for evaluation with quantitative and qualitative questionnaire pre-testing methods. Based on analysis of the results, an improved survey questionnaire will be developed. In the third phase, the improved instrument will be applied to two case studies and further assessments of the validity will be made based on respondent debriefing.

Solutions for the building sector will be developed based on project results in the form of guidelines to measure building occupant behaviour with higher validity. With improvements in validity and reliability of the measurement, researchers and practitioners in the field will be able to collect more accurate data to inform building design, energy performance planning, energy use models, and energy sustainability rating systems.

InnoRenew CoE main activities in the project

This is a postdoctoral research project and the InnoRenew CoE is the only partner. Activities will include leading and managing the project, review of literature and methods, evaluation and analysis of questionnaires and their application, and dissemination activities.