Prepare the Decision Spreadsheet and Local Questions

As CSA, you’ll lead the process of preparing one Survey instrument for each population that will 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.

  • Decision Spreadsheet 2020–21
  • Local Question Spreadsheet 2020–21

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 is 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, except the demographic questions, are optional. 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 because including too many questions may produce a lower response rate (since many members of your community may not be willing to complete a long survey), or may generate ill-will among community members who complete the Survey but feel frustrated about the time it takes to complete. The MISO Team strongly recommends that the number of questions included be limited and strategic so that your instruments may be 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.

  1. When considering whether to include a question, think hard about whether its results will be actionable. The MISO Team strongly recommends that you exclude questions whose results are interesting to know but potentially not actionable.
  2. The number of items you include in the Survey’s use, importance, and satisfaction questions have the greatest impact on whether your community members actually complete the Survey. We recommend that you include only items you are sure will be actionable for your institution.
  3. Consider starting with carefully selected questions focused on your core services, then add a few groups of questions that address specific service areas where the results of the MISO Survey can have an impact either on service quality or on upcoming decisions. This will produce a short, tailored Survey that’s both actionable for your organization and bearable for your campus community.
  4. If you are concerned about the number of questions that you plan to include, but need to have information about many service areas, consider administering the MISO Survey in multiple years and include a subset of your must-have questions each year that you administer the Survey.
  5. Consider creating a brief Assessment Plan that outlines what you wish to know about your IT and library services. This Plan can help guide your decisions about the Survey instruments and help you avoid including the “interesting-to-know” questions that expand the Survey’s length without increasing its value.

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 administrations of the Survey.)

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 understandable.

Demographic questions

At the end of the survey, there are a series of required demographic questions that can be used to insure your respondents match up with your populations. 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 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

Although many institutions choose to administer the MISO Survey without any 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 what your question is asking. 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.