Designing and responding to surveys can be time-consuming activities and you might feel that they are are a bit pointless anyway, as they will just confirm the obvious – you already know what needs to be done. That's a big assumption. True, because you're a close-knit group you might know a lot of the answers. On the other hand, be aware that because you are a close-knit group, people might not be totally honest, they may only tell you what you want to hear, not wishing to offend or they might be slightly embarrassed about what's really happening. It's only human nature to continue thinking what was true ten years ago is true today – it makes life easier when we do that – that might be the case but things change and we don't always notice. Finally don't underestimate the effect of taking part in a survey can have on those responding – making them think and recognise hard truths and galvanising them to do something about it. Just taking part can make change happen.
When done well, surveys provide hard data that can be used to make important decisions. Surveys should be designed to answer questions not to collect information. Include only information useful to design or revise interventions – ask what will I do with this information when I've collected it – and don't ask for information which is just "of interest" or already proven or obvious.
When conducting a survey you need to be active in collecting results – following up with emails and phone calls, sometimes a number of times. Those who are the most reluctant to respond are often the ones with the least happening. In a survey
the 'no-replies' can rather skew the findings.
We have designed a short survey for you to send to tower captains or secretaries in your local area. It covers what has been happening since March 2020 and their concerns about the return to ringing. If you'd like to use this survey then we can easily set one up for you to use in your local area. All you have to do is send out the survey link to your Tower Captains or Secretaries and chase up those who don't reply. You can use the survey as-is, or modify it, adding questions relevant to your local circumstances. This offer includes a sample email and instructions on how to customise your survey.
A simple questionnaire designed to gauge which towers were doing what during lockdown. The results are on page 11.