Surveys Elicits information from patrons- might be factual, opinion, or both Provides a quantitative or numeric description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population Creswell Consistency of format and delivery What is the purpose of the research? Why is a survey the appropriate tool?
Survey Types Questionnaire Paper-based (i.e. self-administered) Can be administered to groups (e.g., Class Evaluations) Allows for clarification if necessary Typically higher response rates Interviews Structured/ Formal Identical questions Identical delivery Telephone or in-person
Surveys Active Mailed By telephone In-person interviewing Distributed on location Web/ Online E-Mail/ Listserv Passive Comment Cards (surveys) are like bikinis. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is essential. -Kenneth Boulding
Survey Design: Population/ Sampling Define/ Enumerate Population Literacy/ Language Issues For self-administered i.e. Children Sample Selection Who is the respondent/ unit? Can they be found/ contacted? How? i.e. unlisted numbers and random dialing What size sample is needed? What response rate is acceptable?
Surveys: Finding & Designing Existing Instruments LibQual WOREP Library Research Services Web list http://www.lrs.org/us ersurveys.php Design Templates Surveymonkey Zoomerang Advantages and Disadvantages?
Survey Design: Question Types Dichotomous: Two possible responses (yes/no; true/false; male/female) Have you used the public library in the past year? Level of Measurement: Rank order or scale questions Rank these library services in order of importance: availability of new releases, ability to renew online, new books on audio Which library services do you use (check all that apply) The library staff is helpful: Strongly Agree… Filter/ Contingency Questions If you answered no, skip to question 10… Screening Questions Have you ever taken an online tutorial?
Survey Questions Types of Questions Factual Opinion/ Attitude Self-perception Information knowledge Standards of action Past or present behavior
Survey Design: Question Content Are all questions useful/ necessary: level of detail Do some questions need to be broken down further? Avoid double-barreled questions To cover all possibilities (i.e. do you use the library? Do you bring your children to the library?) To provide further context (have you ever used the archives? Was it for a school project or personal research?) To determine level of intensity (do you believe the public library is an important part of the community? Would you support increased funding?)
Survey Design: Question Content Do respondents have necessary info to answer? (i.e. Is public funding adequate) Should a question be more specific? Difference between: did you like the book vs. did you recommend the book to others vs. will you read other books by the same author Should a question be more general? (listing all services used vs. do you use the library at all)
Survey Design: Question Content Are questions biased/ loaded? Would you like increased evening/ weekend hours? Should the library eliminate overdue fines? Will respondents be able (want) to answer truthfully?
Survey Design: Response Format Structured Responses Fill in the blank Rating scales (placing items in order) Check box Single option (i.e. strongly agree…) Multi-option (check all that apply) Make sure all alternative as covered Treat all as separate variables Uniformity of options
Survey Design: Response Format Unstructured Responses Open-ended questions Text-based responses For interviews, must decide how to transcribe answers (i.e. every word/ general idea)
Survey Design: Question Wording Can the question be misunderstood? What sorts of online resources do you use? (do you mean general web, subscription database, for what purposes… research, entertainment, etc) Does the question make assumptions? Why do you use the library (assumes you do) Is a time frame necessary and included Should the library increase hours during exam time this year?
Survey Design: Question Wording How personal? Are library hours satisfactory vs. Do you feel library hours are satisfactory vs. Are you personally satisfied with library hours? How direct? What is your immigration status?
Survey Design: Question Placement Ordering Arrange by topic (do answers depend on prior questions) Later questions may receive less attention/ interest Opening questions Set tone Capture (or lose) interest Sensitive questions Attempt to establish trust, be non-threatening. Allow the option to not answer
Survey Design: Question Placement Begin with easy, non-threatening questions Do not begin with open-ended questions Place more difficult questions later in survey Stick to one topic at a time Transition to new topics
Survey Design: Interviews Role of Interviewer Locate and enlist respondents Motivate respondents to participate fully Clarify and confusion Observe the quality of the responses Conduct a good interview
Survey Design: Interviews Training Describe study in detail (including purpose and objectives) Be clear about sponsors of research Instruct on survey research techniques/ rationale for questions Explain interviewer bias and how to avoid it Run through practice interviews
Survey Design: Interviews Opening Remarks- gaining entry/ building trust Explanation of research, purpose, goals Stress confidentiality and voluntary nature Stick to script but don’t be too formal Ask questions exactly as written In order Ask every question Provide clarification but not elaboration
Survey Design: Interviews Probing: gaining adequate responses Silence- can encourage people to talk more Overt encouragement- nodding, saying okay etc. Elaboration- i.e. asking “would you like to elaborate on that?” Asking for clarification Repetition- repeat back an answer
Survey Design: Interviews Recording responses Take notes immediately Include any probes/ clarifications Use abbreviations
Survey Design: Interviews Concluding the interview Thank respondents Tell them when they might expect results Upon leaving, write down any notes/ observations
Survey Question Pitfalls Poorly worded questions (ambiguous, broad, double-barreled) Order of questions Order of responses Too many/ too few choices Jargon Differences in scale
Survey Issues Self-reporting Subjectivity Response Rate Respondent (Non-respondent) bias Generalizing to a population
Surveys: Respect for Respondents Remember respondents are doing you a favor Be polite, courteous, always remember to thank them for participation Offer to share results/ write-ups Be as brief as possible Be sensitive to respondents needs
Survey Questions: Samples Compare: Are you satisfied with our services? Y N Which services have adequately met your needs? (Check all that apply) How satisfied are you with xyz service? 12345 Not at allNeutralVery
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