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An evaluation toolkit for e-library developments



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?



Closed questions

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



Scaled questions

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



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