Discovering Diamonds in your Survey Data:  Understanding and Implementing Best Practices in Survey Design for Outcome-Driven Decision-Making

We are proposing a session called “Discovering Diamonds in your Survey Data:  Understanding and Implementing Best Practices in Survey Design for Outcome-Driven Decision-Making”.  Unlike marketers who use surveys to measure brand awareness, qualitative psychologists use surveys to measure human behavior and other decision-making processes.  Libraries have used surveys to help market current services, but rarely use them for outcome-driven decision-making.

This session highlights the importance of the drafting and designing process in survey creation to ensure the collection of useful data for outcome-driven decision-making at their library.  We will discuss a case study of a traditional survey used at a law school that was originally designed to simply gather data. The case study will present what the survey looks like and describe how it now collects data that enables library administration to plan for, manage, and achieve outcomes which will drive future services, initiatives and programs that can improve the entire institution.  The session will also present a comparative overview of how these surveys differ from traditional questionnaires and how libraries can tackle the innate challenges around bias in survey design.  Although the case study applies to law libraries, the concepts in the session can also be applied for any survey run by any law school department. 

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Find out that beloved initiatives, services or programs may not be beneficial to its intended audiences, or could use improvement.  
  • Identify potential collaborators at all levels and manage their expectations when receiving unintended outcomes from these surveys.    
  • Be mindful of their intended audience, as this determines question type, respondent behavior, and timing for survey rollout.   Attendees will also be aware of their audience and their susceptibility to question fatigue. 
  • Set accurate expectations when introducing the survey to their respondents. Attendees will also recognize when and how to transition from one section to another and clearly define the scope of each question to avoid assumption on the part of the respondent.  
  • Develop questions using neutral language to prevent bias in the response.  Attendees should also be aware of the psychological effect of the question order and answer choices in the survey.

Attendees do not need prior knowledge of survey creation to attend this session.


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