WHEN and WHERE

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Surveying by mail is a common occurrence. You may consider:

  • How will mailed surveys expand your possible participants? Who will be included?

  • Do you have a budget to cover the costs of printing, preparing, and mailing out surveys?

  • What response rate is realistic for your population?

  • Can the survey be included in other patient or employee mailed materials?

Surveying in clinic is also common. You may consider:

Consider the tradeoffs of when to survey and who hands out surveys.

  • Providers: While you may get higher response rates, patients may feel pressure to respond. Providers may be unwilling to add this to their workflow.

  • Front desk staff: How will surveys be distinguished from other clinic paperwork? Does the waiting room offer enough privacy? Do you have clipboards/pens?

  • Nurses: Are they willing/able to add surveys to their workload? How will surveys be collected?

  • Administrative leaders: Staff meetings can be convenient times to survey providers/staff. How can privacy be maintained and coercion avoided for those who may not want to participate?

When you administer your survey can also affect who decides to participate.

  • Consider what season, day of the week, and time of day. Different patient populations may be reached depending on these options.

  • Are there other surveys the clinic, health department, researchers, etc. are conducting? Try to avoid multiple surveys at the same time in the same clinic if at all possible.

  • Is there a staff meeting when you can get many employees to take the survey at the same time? As you are surely aware, clinic staff are busy, so administering surveys during meeting times can help you avoid burdening the staff.