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When I Survey

I’ve just published a long survey to members of my department on behalf of a group that is working on ongoing improvements in equality and support of staff. I must admit that I’m glad to see it live. Most of it was based on a similar survey done a couple of years ago so not everything had to be created from scratch but putting the new questions in and tweaking the flow of the survey was quite time consuming as was nailing down the list of exactly who should receive a copy and processing it to a form where it could be fed into the survey tool. That’s probably the best part of a days work from me and also further contributions from my colleagues.

And then there is the time it will take to fill in. It has getting on for 70 questions (ideally surveys should be a lot shorter but there is a lot to ask) and it is going out to over 300 people. Assuming each person takes an average of 20 minutes, that’s one hour per three surveys returned. We want to get a good return rater and will be taking further time to push for that (the answers are anonymous but we can see who hasn’t responded!), so that could easily be another 50-100 hours of staff time accounted for, making the set up effort look like a reasonable investment.

Finally, there is the time to analyse the results and also to start planning the changes which will lead to the improvements identified. I think it will prove to be a worthwhile investment but conducting a survey on this scale certainly isn’t a free, cheap or easy endeavour.

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