Tuesday, April 26, 2011
At the end of March I joined the RePosit team to assist with writing the on-line questionnaire and with the Advocacy here at Exeter. I worked closely with Jodie Double and Nicola Cockerill on the questionnaire; a number of drafts were available to view and it was from these that I was able to get an idea of the information that was required from this exercise.
I considered it important for the questionnaire to be short, easy to answer and easily understood. Surveys of this type rely on the good will of those replying and anything that causes irritation can lead to the reply being abandoned.
The complication with this particular questionnaire is that most of the questions are dependent on the answers given to previous questions. I hoped to overcome this by organising the questions into groups so, for example, Question 2 asks if a deposit has been made, if the answer is no, the user is asked to continue at question 3, otherwise questions are asked regarding the ease of depositing etc.
The institution specific questions were left alone, apart from the use of a grid which from the BOS website seemed a neat way of asking a lot of similar questions.
The major headache was to keep the questionnaire focussed and easily understood, whilst trying to keep the language adequately generic to apply to all the institutions involved. By the end of the week I had decided that it was a much better idea to give each institution the skeleton of the survey, for each to enter their own repository names. The main thrust of the project is to publicise the institutional repository so to send a communication to all academics without mentioning the local repository name would be a huge lost opportunity. It is important that the only changes each institution makes are the repository names, as otherwise the resulting data will be difficult to compile and analyse.
Jodie, Nicola and I currently believe that the most efficient way forward is for each institution to build their own survey, having taken the skeleton provided and furnished it with local names, and to extract the data to give to Leeds for analysis.
We've circulated the final questionnaire within the project team although this does not imply that no more changes can be made, it was 'final' only to me at the time I uploaded it! We ask for feedback and comments by Wednesday 27th so we can get moving on this. It is, however, most important to get the survey right, so even after this deadline we are very keen for any input.