This chapter of “Nursing Policy Research: Turning Evidence-Based Research into Health Policy” reviews the conceptual and practical issues related to conducting surveys, including development of the research topic and survey questions, maximizing data collection, and coping with common problems.
Surveys, and particularly mail surveys, have proven to be an effective and inexpensive method to collect data related to nursing workforce and health care policy issues. If a survey is done well, data collected from a sample can be generalized to a population, and combined with data from other sources to answer larger questions.
- Defining a specific and clear research question that can be answered quantitatively is a critical first-step in survey design and may entail an extensive process of research and testing of its own.
- Every aspect of the survey tool must be carefully considered and tested in order to develop “clear and concise questions that will produce valid and reliable measures” in the “fewest questions possible.”
- Focus groups can be useful in developing the overall research question; formulating the survey questions, answers and questionnaire order and design; and filling in data gaps revealed post-survey.
- Mail surveys are popular and inexpensive but require knowledge and skill to ensure the correct sample receives and adequately responds to the survey.
- An inadequate response rate can invalidate a survey. The “Tailored Design Method, which reliably produces a 50-60 percent response rate in mail surveys, lays out specific “how-to’s” regarding everything from the design of the cover letter, to the type of postage to affix to the envelope, to the five-step sequence of attempts to reach the sample.
Finally, the authors detail their own experience conducting one problematic survey. As they note, knowing how to design and conduct successful surveys is a worthwhile and well-respected skill for nursing workforce researchers to acquire, despite its challenges.
- 1. Newly Licensed RNs' Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work
- 2. Addressing the Complexities of Survey Research
- 3. A Comparison of Second-Degree Baccalaureate and Traditional-Baccalaureate New Graduate RNs
- 4. Understanding New Registered Nurses' Intent to Stay at Their Jobs
- 5. The Nursing Career Process from Application Through the First 2 Years of Employment
- 6. What Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Have to Say about Their First Experiences
- 7. Moving on, Up, or Out
- 8. New Nurses Views of Quality Improvement Education
- 9. Newly Licensed RNs Describe What They Like Best about Being a Nurse
- 10. Early Career RNs' Perceptions of Quality Care in the Hospital Setting
- 11. Commuting to Work
- 12. Work Environment Factors Other Than Staffing Associated with Nurses' Ratings of Patient Care Quality
- 13. The Relative Geographic Immobility of New Registered Nurses Calls for New Strategies to Augment that Workforce
- 14. Predictors of Actual Turnover in a National Sample of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Employed in Hospitals
- 15. Charting the Course for Nurses' Achievement of Higher Education Levels
- 16. Verbal Abuse From Nurse Colleagues and Work Environment of Early Career Registered Nurses
- 17. Early-Career Registered Nurses' Participation in Hospital Quality Improvement Activities
- 18. Positive Work Environments of Early-Career Registered Nurses and the Correlation with Physician Verbal Abuse