A tale of two surveys

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I've looked at two surveys this week.  The first was that distributed by QAAHEA about its new draft Guidelines to HE institutions about SD / ESD (it never quite decided which this was).  The second was about the National Student Survey (NSS).  Both, of course, had QAA's fingerprints on them.

But what a contrast.  The E(SD) Guidelines was a cheap-o affair from Survey Monkey (we're all increasingly familiar with these).  The NSS one was a sleek piece of design from Nat Cen, a social research outfit.  I warmed immediately to the Nat Cen approach as it allowed you to see all the questions in advance which is a simple way of treating the respondent with respect.  You can, for example, see whether there's any point in your starting the survey.

I further warmed to the NSS survey when I came to this:

18a. (If answer to Q17=yes) Why … ?

and then this:

19. (If answer to Q17=no) Why … ?

In the QAAHEA's E(SD) survey, you were not encouraged to give "Yes, and / but …" responses.  It was assumed that you'd only have something to say if you disagreed with the proposition.  This was very irritating as I was forced to give "No" responses (followed by a comment), when I really wanted to say, "Yes, but / and …".    That said, I did manage to squeeze in all the points I wanted to make, even if I did end up by seemingly over-filling the boxes.  All that said, the NSS survey wasn't flawless as there were boxes that didn't expand to let you say what you wanted to.  Inexplicable.  I can only trust that both were valuable.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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