Prepare the Decision Spreadsheet and Local Questions

As CSA, you’ll lead the process of preparing one Survey instrument for each population to be surveyed at your institution.  Because you may extensively customize the MISO Survey instrument and because each population you survey requires a separate instrument, this aspect of your preparation is very intensive. Your decisions will all be recorded in the Decision Spreadsheet. If you choose to add local questions to the Survey instruments for your campus, these questions will be recorded in the Local Question Spreadsheet.

At most institutions, the process of determining which questions to include in the MISO Survey instruments, how to customize the Survey’s questions, and whether to craft local questions requires extensive input from the management of your IT and library organizations (or merged organization). Some CSAs lead a management team charged with making these decisions, while others facilitate a broad consultation process. You’ll record your institution’s decisions in the Decision Spreadsheet. For best results, please download and use a new copy of the Decision Spreadsheet when recording your decisions.

Below you'll find more information about survey question selection and decision-making, customization of questions, the required demographic questions, and local questions that may be included in the Survey instruments.

Survey Questions

All of the questions in the MISO Survey, are optional, with the exception of the demographic questions. In general, you should include questions that will inform future planning or evaluate critical services, and exclude questions that are not as useful for your organization and its services. It’s very important that these decisions are made carefully. Including too many questions may produce a lower response rate. The MISO Team strongly recommends that the number of questions included be limited and strategic so that your instruments are as short as possible.

When making your decisions, please keep the following in mind. For help thinking about these issues, consult your MISO team liaison.

As you record your decisions, take note of two key indicators built into the Decision Spreadsheet that will help you determine whether your instruments are too long. The first indicator suggests how frustrated your community members may feel and the second approximates the time required to complete the Survey. (These indicators are based on an analysis conducted by the MISO Team using data collected from past Survey administrations.)

Customizable questions

The MISO Survey contains many questions that can be customized to ensure that they’ll be well understood by survey respondents on your campus. For example, questions that ask about the “Computing help desk” can be customized to replace this phrase with the name of your organization’s help desk. Be sure that you record each customization in the Decision Spreadsheet and double-check to be sure that the customization is both clear and easily understood.

Demographic questions

The required demographic questions at the end of the Survey can be used to ensure your respondents properly represent each campus population. These are also used by the MISO Team to gain added insights during our analysis of the national survey results. One of these questions focuses on the academic divisions at your institution and therefore requires customization. Please record your institution’s academic divisions (ex. Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences) in the Survey Decision Spreadsheet. If you have previously administered the MISO Survey at your institution, your liaison will provide your past instruments for your review. The MISO Team recommends that you use the same academic divisions that you used in the past.

Local questions

You may decide to create questions that are specific to your institution. These questions may focus on areas of service or topics that are not addressed by the standard MISO Survey instruments. Once you draft your local questions, we recommend that you test them using a focus group to ensure that they will be clearly understood by survey respondents. (A focus group is composed of 5-7 individuals from the target population—faculty, students, or staff—who can tell you whether they understand your question in the same way. The group may also suggest other phrasings that may be clearer.) Consult an assessment professional on your campus—perhaps in your Institutional Research office—for help testing your local questions. Once these questions are ready, submit them by completing the Local Question Spreadsheet. If you have questions about submitting local questions, please contact your MISO team liaison.