Everyone has probably filled out a survey one time or another. You might ask yourself who needs this information, what is the information needed for, where will this information be stored, why do I need to do this, and exactly how is the information going to be used?
Researchers survey people to extract specific data from a particular group to expand their knowledge and then disseminate their findings through publications, seminars, conferences, etc. Surveys come in a variety of formats, they are more common in the online environment; however, one-on-one encounters, snail mail, telephone, or focus groups are other ways of gathering needed data.
As surveys provide us with facts, opinions, and comments, this feedback provides us with a baseline to compare results and establish benchmarks for assessing programs and services. For instance, libraries must complete several yearly surveys to stay compliant with accreditation requirements and national standards. One of these surveys, the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS) consist of several components including institutional characteristics, finance, human resources, and enrollment/admissions/graduation information just to name a few. Everyone who receives federal funding must respond to this survey. The Academic Libraries component collects basic information on library collections, expenditures, and services. This includes books and media in both print and electronic formats, database collections, library expenditures related to salaries, materials, services, operations, and maintenance of collections. This survey is due in the spring of each year. Another one is the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey and is composed of three parts. The first part consists of questions asked on the IPEDS, questions about academic libraries often used to develop future surveys, and questions about library trends focusing on a different topic. The 2020 questions focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).
Surveys can inundate our everyday life as we encounter them everywhere we go. For instance, people might stop you in a mall to gather information, telemarketers appeal to you via telephone, employers gauge satisfaction, and retailers collect brand preferences and customer satisfaction. There is a plethora of surveys available for the taking that it can all be overwhelming so which ones should someone take? Usually those that appeal to a personal preference, those that are short, those with questions that can go unanswered, and those that offer an incentive often have the best return rate. The decision is yours; however, here are some reasons you might want to consider:
- Your contribution is extremely valuable to the research
- Ensures your voice is heard
- Provides data to assist with informed decision making
The Freeman/Lozier Library occasionally disseminates surveys to the Bellevue University community and we encourage you to consider completing them. They often are accompanying with an incentive, they are brief, and they are timely. Therefore, the next time you receive an email, a notification, or someone approaches you from the library, please take the time to be honest, inclusive, and responsive, as your information can and will make a difference in the library. Be on the lookout for a “Kindness Audit” survey,” and “Website Usability” survey in the very near future.
Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than Books, V. 24 No. 2, Spring 2021.