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Effective City Surveys - Resources Useful for 2019 City Satisfaction Survey Design & Other Staff-Developed Surveys

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2019 16:17:25 -0800

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Hello Clay,

I'm following up to Council's discussion of which vendor to choose for the City Satisfaction survey.

First, according to the January 18, 2018 Daily Post/Mercury News<https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/18/menlo-park-survey-shows-support-for-parking-garage-but-not-a-library-bond/> article, Council did not see the 2017 City Satisfaction Survey questions beforehand at a public meeting. Peter Ohtaki was also quoted making similar statements in other venues. Of course, perhaps some Council members saw the questions in a private meeting.

During your discussion, Council member Nash express general concerns pertaining to the usefulness of some prior surveys. Poor quality surveys is a common problem when surveys are designed by those with little experience in designing surveys, and when the surveys are not pre-tested first. So just having Council's review may not prevent a similar situation as what occurred in 2017 in terms of public outrage about what multiple members of the public described as biased or "push-pull" survey with leading questions. Below are some helpful resources to Staff and Council, and other interested parties. Even a quick skim of sections of the first book listed would be helpful. I also volunteer as a resource to you on this particular project.

  * Designing Quality Survey Questions by Sheila B. Robinson, Kimberly Firth Leonard
  * The Complete Guide to Writing Questionnaires: How to Get Better Information for Better Decisions by David F. Harris
  * Internet, Phone, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method by Don A. Dillman, Jolene D. Smyth and Leah Melani Christina
  * Improving Survey Questions: Design and Evaluation by Floyd J. Fowler, Jr.
  * Harvard University Program on Survey Research -- Tip Sheet on Question Wording<https://psr.iq.harvard.edu/files/psr/files/PSRQuestionnaireTipSheet_0.pdf>
  * Loyola Marymount University -- Survey Design<https://academics.lmu.edu/officeofinstitutionalresearch/surveysevaluation/surveyresearchanalysis/surveydesign/>
  * Introduction to Primary Research: Observations, Surveys and Interviews <https://wac.colostate.edu/books/writingspaces2/driscoll--introduction-to-primary-research.pdf>

I preferred the National Community Survey partly because their questions have been carefully constructed and tested over time. (The company also does not conduct surveys for the business community, so there is never a question of possible conflicts of interests). When one comes up with new questions, it's common to have problematic questions. A paper questionnaire also removes the possibility of the interviewer leading the respondent towards answering the questions in a particular way. As the 2017 Survey process generated much negative publicity. Below are some links to some online articles with comments related to bias in the Godbe surveys.

  * Library Survey Disappoints Some Res<https://www.hmbreview.com/community/library-survey-disappoints-some-residents/article_020e152c-7881-11e5-ad6c-dff94c4077dc.html>idents (Half Moon Bay)
  * Menlo Park Library Bond Issue is Dead<https://padailypost.com/2018/01/29/menlo-park-library-bond-issue-is-dead-but-downtown-parking-structure-theater-idea-is-very-much-alive/> (Menlo Park)

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Thu Nov 07 2019 - 16:09:23 PST

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