Surveys and Conceptual Background

How appropriate that I read the Survey Research article the same week we’re talking about conceptual backgrounds in Collection Management.

The article contained some great, simplified information about creating a survey. Judging by the surveys I’ve taken, many of them from the DoD, too often those collecting data are more concerned with the the results they’re looking for than the format of the survey. This is a huge mistake. If a survey isn’t easy to understand and fill out, the participant is going to have issues. These issues can lead to unreliable data. If your data is unreliable, what was the point of the survey in the first place? “Survey research design is dependent on careful planning that necessities attention to a series of critical components to ensure effective data collection and implementation” (Hank, Jordan, and Wildemuth,2009). This is such an important concept to remember.

To relate it to the readings from Collection Management, a big part of the planning process is having a good conceptual background. The conceptual background allows the researchers to streamline the study by determining how they should focus the research, the limitations of the research (and how to safeguard against those limitations), and what type information is relevant to their research question. It also allows them to expend the least amount of time and money necessary to gain the most information. The conceptual background would provide the researchers the necessary guidance for how to create study as well as how to analyze the results and what to do with them.

Hank,C., Jordan, M., & Wildemuth, B.M. (2009). Survey Research. In B.M. Wildemuth (Ed.), Applications of social research methods to questions in information and library science. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

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