Reflecting on some recent surveys

There have been a few surveys that I have been asked to complete of late which have highlighted some of the issues in multiple choice questions and how, when we use questions, we need to avoid our own bias from influencing proceedings.


Now, most survey advice sites would recommend test groups to iron out bugs in the system.  CILIP’s recent survey, part of the workforce mapping project, seems to fail pretty early on.  As the included picture shows, the survey attempted to enforce something of a discipline taxonomy on those completing the survey.  There was little space in this question for people making use of information skills but in a different discipline (like Learning and Development for example) even when the project website itself states “professionals are developing new roles in business, industry, government, and the third sector”.  Indeed it ignores, for example, someone who has gone down a data scientist route and, I presume, the question will cause the usual consternation from the old Institute of Information Scientists members, although they perhaps would just opt for the option with a mention for “information”.  Overall, it is presumably part of an attempt by CILIP to engage with groups they have lost touch with, so at the very least not conditioning the question to say, something like, “which discipline do you most affiliate yourself with?” seemed a misstep.

CILIP Workforce Mapping Question - what type of library do you work in?
As your skills will clearly fall into a traditional discipline, there is no other.


Pretty sure the 70:20:10 Forum were the source of the below question.  Now I appreciate that people may be ‘adopting’ the framework, in terms of the support and recommendations in the model.  However, surely half the battle (or 80/90%) is just making L&D realize that very few (if any) professions have ever been able to teach everything people need to know through formal learning.  Again, I guess my gripe is in the wording but it seems to be suggesting something to adopt rather than saying the 80/20 split is about right (let’s go as far as to say accurate/truthful) so why are you only now doing something about it?

Recent question on why you might adopt 702010
Do you want to know the truth? You can’t adopt the truth.

Training Journal

Credit to Training Journal for doing some work on the feeling, that most people probably have in L&D circles, that the gender balance seems to get skewed towards the masculine end of the spectrum as you look at who occupies more senior roles.  Whilst I completed the survey my major problem was that, according to it, all organizations are 10,000 people or smaller.  This seems a really odd one to get wrong unless it is deliberately aiming at SME type organizations (if it is then fair enough but I must have missed the note to that effect).

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader ( and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

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