Chapter 7

CAMEO Handbook

Chapter 7 The Survey as a Tool for Looking-Around


Introduction

Surveys can be useful tools for gathering opinions and perceptions from a large number of people. They provide information on which to base or test decisions; however, effective surveys are time-consuming and expensive.

Although surveys are difficult and time-consuming, there are times when a survey is the most appropriate tool to use to gather data. For library planners who, after thoughtful consideration, decide that a survey is the best approach for their Looking-Around effort, this chapter provides a detailed guide to carrying out effective surveys. It begins with a series of four questions to be answered before the decision to conduct a survey can be made, describes four types of surveys typically used by libraries, and provides a detailed, step-by-step guide to planning and implementing a survey.

Levels of Effort

Any survey requires an extensive level of effort. The decision to undertake a survey should be made only after all other possible options are considered.

Questions to ask before the survey

Four series of questions should be answered before the decision to conduct a survey is made:

Types of surveys

Four types of surveys that libraries use are surveys of staff, citizens, students, and users. Here is a description of those options, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.