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An evaluation toolkit for e-library developments

 
 

Questionnaires

Reasons for using questionnaires

Questionnaires are a useful method to investigate:

Advantages of questionnaires

The main advantages of questionnaires are:

Disadvantages of questionnaires

The main disadvantages of questionnaires are:

Questionnaire design process

Stage 1: Determine what information is required. What do you want to find out?

Some surveys are carried out as a matter of routine eg annual user survey; others take place on a one-off basis and these often focus on a particular service or topic.

Stage 2: Decide on the audience for the questionnaire.

The questionnaire might be aimed at students, library staff or academic staff.
It might be appropriate to target a particular group of users eg part-time students, first year students, staff from a particular department.
In other cases, you may choose to select a random sample from a list of staff or students or simply hand out questionnaires in the library or elsewhere.

Stage 3: Decide on the method of data collection

Criteria Postal Telephone Electronic Personally administered
Low cost X   X  
High speed   X X  
Detailed questions   X   X
Anonymity X   X  
Rapport with respondents   X   X
Little staff time required X   X  
High response rate   X   X

Online questionnaires may be a particularly suitable method to investigate EIS. These could be distributed via email or designed as web-based surveys which are reached via a link or pop-up automatically when a user clicks on a given page.

Advantages of using online questionnaires:

Disadvantages of using online questionnaires:

Stage 3: Draft the questionnaire, considering content, wording, format, structure and layout

Issues to consider:

Types of questions

Open questions

Eg How useful do you find EIS when completing assignments?
Can you suggest any ways in which EIS might be promoted more effectively?

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Closed questions

Eg From which locations do you access EIS? Library/elsewhere on campus/off campus
Have you used the online help facility?

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Scaled questions

Eg. How would you rate EIS overall? Very good, good, average, poor, very poor

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Other issues to consider

Stage 4: Pilot/test the questionnaire with colleagues or a sample of potential respondents and revise the questionnaire

Stage 5: Plan the timing of the questionnaire

E.g. Avoid times such as vacations and exam periods if targeting students.

Stage 6: Distribute the questionnaire

Stage 6: Chase non-respondents

Ways to maximise your response rate

Stage 7: Analyse the responses

Stage 8: Write up, present and use the findings

Case studies

OU
Leeds
Glasgow
Cardiff