Meta-surveys

Keith September 19th, 2008

A bit of breathing space on my current project…

Just reading about yet another organisational survey-like tool – you know, “rate your organisation’s ability at (xyz) on a scale of 1 to 10″.  It reminded me of one I was asked to respond to some time ago.  Working for a multi-siloed behemoth of an organisation, my response to each question was “it depends”.  There was no way to answer this sort of thing on an organisation-wide basis, because the answer would be different in different silos – or even different areas within each silo.

… which in turn made me think about other surveys that never seem to offer choices that make sense, and the general low opinion of surveys that many people have (particularly the odd one or two on actKM). :-)

So, I thought, why not make a survey a two-part approach. 

First, you send out an outline of the information you wish to collect and the set of questions that you think will be useful to collect the information (maybe to a sub-group of the full survey population).  Ask your correspondents to fill in the sort of answers that they would like to choose from, and to also suggest better questions to collect the information.

Then, use what you have collected to construct the actual survey.

The success of this would depend entirely on how many people respond to the first part – once you get something useful from that, you should get a far stronger response to the actual survey!

Has anyone ever done this – on any sort of a reasonable scale?

4 Responses to “Meta-surveys”

  1. Stuart Frenchon 19 Sep 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Andi Riege from Griffith Uni wrote a paper in 2004 called “The Diversity of Convergent Interviewing”.

    The abstract includes: “Convergent interviewing is an iterative method for analysing interview data, primarily in organisational change and development processes.”

    Might be worth you having a read.

  2. Keithon 19 Sep 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Stuart –

    Cool! Sounds something like what I was thinking about…

    – Keith.

  3. Andrew Mitchellon 19 Sep 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Keith,

    Sounds like some of the practices that are associated with Action Research and Evaluation which I studied under Prof Bob Dick (of Southern Cross University) some years ago. Bob’s course is (was?) available free online although I did it as part of a management degree. Bob’s still around, I hear he’s running a workshop with Andrew Rixon soon.

    It’s interesting that you should be talking about this topic because I was talking about surveys with one of our directors earlier this week and giving him similar advice.

    Cheers,
    Andrew.

  4. Keithon 20 Sep 2008 at 7:51 am

    Thanks, Andrew.

    That gives me more to check out next time I get involved in running a survey.

    – Keith

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