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Using questionnaires to measure attitudes and behaviours of buildings users

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 project activities

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.

Work packages and results

Work package 1: Project management

Task 1.1: Project administration

Task 1.2: Quality assurance

Task 1.3: Data management


Work package 2: Overview of methods

Task 2.1: Systematic literature review

Task 2.2: Collection of questions

Task 2.3: Focus groups


  • D2.1 List of literature
  • D2.2 Inventory of building characteristics and user’s attitudes and behaviour (work in progress)
  • D2.3 List of survey items used to study building users’ attitudes and behaviour (work in progress)
  • D2.4 Focus group transcripts (internal material)

Work package 3: Evaluation of questions

Task 3.1: Selection of questions

Task 3.2: Quantitative evaluation

Task 3.3: Qualitative evaluation

Task 3.4: Analysis of results


  • D3.1 Survey questionnaires selected for evaluation (work in progress)
  • D3.2 Evaluation of questions with Survey Quality Predictor
  • D3.3 Evaluation of questions with the text corpora approach
  • D3.4 Improved survey questionnaires

Work package 4: Application of questions

Task 4.1: Survey preparation

Task 4.2: Survey data collection

Task 4.3: Data cleaning

Task 4.4: Analysis and evaluation


  • D4.1 Final questionnaires with debriefing questions
  • D4.2 Cleaned dataset for first case study
  • D4.3 Cleaned dataset for second case study
  • D4.4 Report, evaluation and discussion of results

Work package 5: Dissemination activities

Task 5.1: Website and communication

Task 5.2: Scientific dissemination

Task 5.3 Workshop


  • D5.1 Website
  • D5.2 Deposition of data in repository (work in progress)
  • D5.3 Submitted scientific papers (work in progress)
  • D5.4 Conference presentations
  • D5.5 Workshop for stakeholders in Slovenia
  • D5.6 Article about the project for the general public

Bibliografic references

[1] SLAVEC, Ana. Odprta znanost – več kot le krilatica. InnoRenew CoE. 2019, ilustr. ISSN 2784-4102. [COBISS.SI-ID 61495555]

[2] SLAVEC, Ana. Research data management for data on renewable materials and products, School of Chemical Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, October 22, 2019. [COBISS.SI-ID 1541664196]

[3] SLAVEC, Ana. Research data management for data on renewable materials and products, Mendel University, Faculty of forest and wood technology, Brno, 4th November 2019. [COBISS.SI-ID 1541694404]

[4] SLAVEC, Ana, PRELOVŠEK NIEMELÄ, Eva. Developing temporary housing solutions for displaced persons : a study of user needs. V: Integrating sustainability and health in buildings through renewable materials : book of abstracts. InnoRenew CoE International Conference 2020, 3. September 2020, Izola. Izola: InnoRenew CoE, 2020. Str. 12. [COBISS.SI-ID 27162115]

[5] SLAVEC, Ana, BURNARD, Michael David, ROVERE, Barbara. Methodological challenges of measuring innovation activities of micro companies. V: LUSA, Lara (ur.), KASTRIN, Andrej (ur.), BLEJEC, Andrej (ur.). Abstracts and program. Ljubljana: Statistical Society of Slovenia, 2019. Str. 25. ISBN 978-961-94283-0-6. [COBISS.SI-ID 1541570756]

[6] SLAVEC, Ana. Metodološki izzivi merjenja inovacijskih aktivnosti mikro podjetij, Univerza v Ljubljani, Medicinska fakulteta, 29. oktober 2019. [COBISS.SI-ID 1541663940]