Design, administer and analyse a generation gap survey

Design, administer and analyze a generation gap survey

Students get a lesson in sociological research as they formulate a hypothesis about generational differences, design and adminster the questionnaire to test their hypothesis, chart their findings, and present the results of their research to the class.


  • Students will be introduced to the process of creating a hypothesis and testing its validity.
  • They will become familiar with spreadsheet fundamentals.
  • Students will engage in thoughtful discussion about generational differences.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will formulate a hypothesis with dependent and independent variables about generational differences in attitude.
  • Students will design, write, and administer a questionnaire that elicits responses to questions about generational differences.
  • Students analyze the survey results using Office Excel.
  • Students present their findings to the class using Office Excel Or Office PowerPoint.

Lesson procedure


Do you have the same attitudes about topics, such as politics for example, as someone who is age 30, 50 or 80?

Do older people and younger people think alike? What subjects might they have different opinions about?

Is there really such a thing as a "generation gap"? Or is this a myth or assumption we make?

You are going to find out the answer to this question by researching the differences between generations the way social scientists do. Working in teams, you will first develop a hypothesis that you believe reflects the differences between generations. Next, you will design, write, and administer a questionnaire to test your hypothesis. Your survey will compare attitudes and opinions about certain issues, based on different variables, such as age, gender, or geographic region. Finally, you will chart your findings, analyze your results using Office Excel, and report the results to your classmates using Office PowerPoint.

Teacher Tips

  • Are attitudes ageless?

    Think of someone you know, a relative or family friend, who is from a different generation than you are. What attitudes do you have in common? What attitudes do you have that are dissimilar? Is there truly a “gap” between people based on their age?

  • Mob mentality or individualism

    Sociologists study people and their social behavior, especially origins, institutions, and collective behavior within a society. If you were a sociologist, what social behavior would you like to study? Group behavior? Anti-social? Criminal behavior?

Student activity

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan.

Note teachers: Please download the student activity handouts located in the sidebar under Software and Materials Needed, for additional details about the main activities for this lesson plan. 

  • Step 1: “Formulate a hypothesis”
  • Step 2: “Create a survey and test it” 
  • Step 3: “Administer the survey”
  • Step 4: “Analyze your survey data”
  • Step 5: “Present your research findings”  

Lesson extension activities

Have more advanced students design the survey form in Office Excel. For help designing a form using an Office Excel template, click the Microsoft Office button,

Select New, click Installed Templates, click More Categories, and then click Surveys.


Assess the students on the following:

  • Formulation of their hypothesis
  • Design of their survey
  • Administration of survey
  • Analysis of survey results
  • Final Office Excel or Office PowerPoint presentation.