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Assessing SART Work: Questionnaires and Surveys

Assessment is critical to the Sexual Assault Response Team’s effectiveness. So, you’ve got your team feeling ready to ask some critical questions. You’ve decided that your team wants numbers-based approaches and information to evaluate the effectiveness of your work. The most common approach teams use is a questionnaire or survey—either paper or online. Let’s take a quick look at this approach.

Pros: Questionnaires and surveys have a lot of benefits for a team. They can be as simple or complex as the team chooses to make it. You can have many questions or just a few. You get to customize every part of the survey, including delivery. They are standardized, meaning everyone gets the same questions. Teams also see the potential to get a lot of responses quickly and with minimal recruitment effort.

Cons: There is a lot of room for error, and questionnaires/surveys can be viewed as impersonal by those taking them. There are few opportunities to ask follow up questions or clarify confusing responses. It’s not possible to make changes as you go. You can’t select participants; you get what shows up. You need some statistics knowledge to make sense of the data gathered. Typically, teams get few responses and have to do a lot of recruitment.

Questionnaires and surveys can be a great tool to get some numbers-based information on your team’s work. Most teams lean toward this method as a way to collect fast information with limited resources at the outset. However, there can be some snags along the way. You and your team will want to review the cons and make some proactive plans about how to handle any challenges that arise during the process.

Remember, what matters most is that your team takes on the effort to evaluate. If you see that your process is not working or is causing harm, it’s okay to go back to the drawing board and choose a new method. Whatever method you choose, keep asking questions, testing effectiveness, and moving your team through the hard work of systems changes. You can do this!

Do you have experience with questionnaires or surveys? Have helpful hints for others to consider? Leave your thoughts in the comments!