Recent increasing interest in surveying the ASPO membership has necessitated development of formal guidelines. Please note that these guidelines apply whether the survey will be hard copy (request for mailing labels) or email/web-based (request Webmaster to send out mass email). This policy applies to uses of the ASPO mailing list for academic circumstances approved by the ASPO board.

ASPO recognizes the value of well-designed survey research. To provide useful information for the pediatric & general otolaryngology community as well as our pediatric colleagues, a survey should address a novel clinical question. However, the rights of members to be protected from “spam” or frivolous surveys is also recognized. The Information Technology Committee has implemented an opt-out feature for ASPO members to indicate whether they would like to receive surveys.  

The survey should address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field.  The findings should potentially contribute to at least one of the following: safety, clinical decision, health care policy.  The survey will provide a voice so that opinions and practice patterns of pediatric otolaryngologists will be part of the medical literature and contribute to the development of new clinical practice guidelines within otolaryngology and the pediatric community.

ASPO reviews the surveys twice a year and only the most meritorious surveys will be further considered. Naturally, a subset of less qualified surveys will be turned down. Through the review process, we hope to improve the quality and also eventually the response rate of surveys. On average, 6 surveys will be distributed annually. ASPO will endorse the survey and provide access to its internet site and social media to promote the survey and also track the response rate.

Overview:

Surveys should be as brief and to the point as possible. This will improve response rate and completion rate. Historically, the response rates of surveys are 20-30%. Advice from an experienced survey researcher is recommended.

The potential surveyor is responsible for reviewing the literature to ensure that similar surveys have not already been performed. In addition, the surveyor is responsible for being aware of and complying with Human Subject research requirements of their institution. ASPO review of surveys does not substitute for or constitute IRB approval.

The survey’s academic purpose should be clearly articulated and defined. Surveys with a clear objective (i.e. gather data for an article on this topic to be published in a journal, provide preliminary data for a grant application to an organization) are more likely to be approved. For informal surveys where academic rigor is not necessary in order to obtain information of clinical interest, the Pedi-Oto listserve (send email to pedi-oto@otohns.net) is suggested.

Guidelines for surveys:

To address concerns about the quantity and quality of research surveys distributed to ASPO members, the Research Committee has developed survey criteria and an application process. The goal of the survey criteria is to provide authors guidelines to generate well designed surveys and therefore improve the overall quality of the research and the survey experience for the participating ASPO members.

The proposed survey criteria to be reviewed are summarized below:

  • The survey should address an important and relevant topic to pediatric otolaryngology which will add to the field/literature.
  • The survey should have clearly stated objective(s).
  • The survey questions should focus on answering/addressing the survey objective(s) and be designed to generate meaningful statistical analyses; questions should be limited to only those used in analyzing the responses or describing the respondents.
  • The survey should not take more than 5 minutes and should have no more than 15-20 questions (without sub-questions or multiple parts).
  • The invitation to complete the survey must state (a) the number of total questions and (b) the anticipated completion time. Assuming the survey is administered on-line there should be feedback provided to the respondent after each page regarding the percentage of the total survey completed.
  • The survey should include a question/function for respondents to decline participation in the survey if they do not feel qualified to respond to the survey.  Some basic descriptive data should be requested from respondents so that those who decline participation in a survey can be compared to those who complete the survey, thereby helping assess the ability to generalize the results.
  • A letter of support for statistical analyses must be submitted with the request to review the survey.
  • If applicable, a letter of support from the ASPO member acting as the survey sponsor should be included with the request to review the survey.
  • Upon approval of the survey by the ASPO Research Committee, a letter of approval/exemption from the IRB must be sent to the ASPO Research Committee Chair before the survey can be posted/distributed.
  • A full copy of the planned survey including the cover letter/invitation to complete the survey should be submitted with the request to review the survey.
  • A maximum of 6 surveys will be accepted for each cycle.  The research committee would review the survey applications and provide a score.  

Expectations and steps in the survey process:

  • Potential surveys require the sponsorship of an ASPO member.
  • All survey requests must be accompanied by a completed ASPO survey application, available here.
  • The survey application must be submitted for consideration to the ASPO staff member (Julia Peterson jpeterson@facs.org).  Please also send your name, your institution, a copy of the entire survey (i.e. the content plus any internal branching), a copy of the invitation to take the survey, a letter of support for statistical analyses, and if applicable, a letter of support from the ASPO member acting as the survey sponsor.
  • If approved, a $250 fee must be paid to the ASPO treasurer before any survey can be sent to the membership.
  • All surveys must be online, and a link to the survey web page must be provided by the authors. ASPO suggests using surveymonkey.com for this - while there are free accounts available, a subscription for a month’s service with sufficient questions and responses is currently $24
  • To minimize survey fatigue, the survey will be set up so that only those individuals who did not respond to the initial survey request would get a subsequent email. Each survey can be distributed a maximum of 3 times.

Expectations after survey process:

1) We encourage the investigators of the survey present their results at our annual ASPO meeting.

2) By 12 months after the survey has been distributed, the investigators are expected submit a report of the outcome of the study (e.g. what is the response rate, has the study been submitted for presentation or prepared as a manuscript).