In an environment of too many—and too many ill-designed—surveys, our twin aims should be to reduce the number of surveys overall and to improve the quality of those that do circulate. This burden falls on both those who distribute questionnaires—to make them as efficient as possible—and those answering—to decline to participate in any project that shows signs of unthoughtful design, thereby forcing surveyors to “up their game.” Good surveying, a difficult task in the best of circumstances, becomes even more complicated when pushed through the favored medium of the online discussion list (commonly called a listserv), a choice that can nullify the results of an otherwise well-designed project. Rising to these challenges requires a strong grounding in the basics of survey design, some of which I review below. Executed correctly, the worst errors can be avoided, allowing surveys to offer solid insights on a variety of interesting questions of law librarianship.
Recipient of the 2010 AALL Spectrum Article of the Year Award
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_donovan/55/