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. However, the rights of members to be protected from “spam” or frivolous surveys is also recognized. The Information Technology Committee have implemented an opt-out feature for ASPO members to indicate whether they would like to receive surveys. 

ASPO review and permission to distribute surveys should not be construed as equivalent to peer review, endorsement, sponsorship of the survey by ASPO. No statements implying peer review, endorsement or sponsorship should be made or implied in future publications of survey results.


Surveys should be as brief and to the point as possible. This will improve response rate and completion rate. 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 (ie 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 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 to be reviewed at the next ASPO Board meeting. 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 generalizethe 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.

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 Chair of the Research Committee.  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 for this -  while there are free accounts available, a subscription for a month’s service with sufficent questions and responses is currently $24.