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Lessons from an attempt at action-focused survey revision, part 3

Or, where the rubber meets the road.

From late April to mid-May, we ran the revised survey that I first began posting about here, and then again here.

And we’ve done a little reflecting on how things have gone so far.

What have we learned so far….

First, that nothing is ever perfect the first, second, or third time. Maybe not even after that. Taking a developmental and utilization focused viewpoint on this survey and its resulting data is important here. We can learn from the survey both via its findings, and also from the process and success, or lack thereof, of various aspects of the survey project.

But perhaps more importantly, this work has solidified the importance of a collaborative effort, while also solidifying for me how complicated and time consuming such efforts can be. Worth it? Yes. Especially frustrating when everything doesn’t go perfectly, despite what you thought was thorough and perfectionism driven preparation? Yes. I’m feeling inspired to add a post on the usefulness of messy data in the near future.

And again, I want to make an argument for not stopping any data collection efforts at the reporting stage…. There is so much value to be found in engaging more deeply with stakeholders to discuss, interpret together, and plan for use of the findings.

We’ll be publishing an ‘action plan’ shortly, as an addendum to the 2011 Alumni Survey report — demonstrating the steps we’ve taken in response to last year’s survey. And I anticipate a major outcome of the engagement work we’re doing now will be a similar action plan — articulating what we’ve learned from the 2012 survey and how we hope to put the results (and the lessons we learned in the process of revising & conducting the survey as well as discussing the results) to use. More on that to come….

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