Musings on Class 2/11/2013

I never gave much thought to surveys before.  They’ve always seemed like an ineffective or forced way to get feedback, but in light of a better way to hear from the participants, they are necessary.  So, I usually fill them out.  In fact, it is difficult for me to say ‘no’ to filling out any survey.

So, I found the discussion in class about surveys and all the thought that goes into creating an effective survey really interesting.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, however I was, by how much thought and consideration went into the creation of surveys.  I was particularly fascinated by the different types of questions that draw on the different types of learning or knowledge from the workshop/lecture/discussion.  Previously, I thought it was more about the format of the question rather than the knowledge one needed to complete it.  Now that I am aware of it, I see it in many of the surveys that I have completed and it makes total sense to me why one would do that.

In addition, I think that it is pretty savvy to not give a ‘neutral’ choice in the answer spectrum so that you force participants to give an answer.  However, I have always been irritated in giving tight one word answers to questions that I see as being very detailed.  It is one of the reasons that I have avoided doing the political phone surveys.  The answers are so much more complex than ‘satisfied’ or ‘dissatisfied.’  In that sense, the survey seems skewed in its origins, so what good is it to administer that sort of survey?  The cynic in me can think of many different reasons they would do this.

But this is a different sort of beast than I will be administering in workshops of the future.  So, the lesson that I want to take away from this discussion is to be cognizant of result that I want and match the format of the survey to that.  It may take a process of trial and error before I can effectively create that survey, but I am OK with that.  I look forward to the challenge.


About mainvils

I am a first year UMSI graduate student specializing in LIS and Preservation of Information.
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