The Value of Surveys and Incentives
Often external evaluators and researchers do not get to hear the stories about or see the effect of their work at organizations or campuses. However, occasionally, a story comes along worth sharing. Jonathan Alonso is a senior majoring in health science at Dominican University of California who will begin his graduate work in occupational therapy in fall 2012.
Jonathon was a participant in the Dominican administration of the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory and was randomly selected from more than 300 students to receive the incentive for participation in the survey, a new 32GB iPad. Once selected, Jonathan was taken to the local Apple store to order the iPad of his choice. What follows is a letter from Jonathan that tells his story.
Among the most interesting parts is how he explains how a research course helped him understand the work put into developing a survey and the value of participation on the part of respondents. It also serves as an example of how a survey incentive can become a valuable tool for one's future.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude for helping me pick out the iPad yesterday. I have been telling every student I know about the amazing story that goes with the process of winning the iPad and how awesome Yaping in Institutional Research is.
It all started with my research class for occupational therapy and learning about the low response rates for surveys. I can attest to this phenomenon because up until this semester I just deleted every email I received from Dominican that had to do with a survey. I began to realize throughout the course of my research class that someone on the other end of that survey put a lot of work into getting the data collection tool out there. In addition, I now understand that an individual or institutional researcher really does value my opinion and wants to know what I think and/or feel. I made the commitment this semester to fill out every possible survey sent to me from a Dominican student working on a thesis or academic department working to improve their services to us, the students. To be honest, I did not even remember filling out a survey that specifically stated, "Fill this out for a chance to win an iPad." My main objective in filling out the surveys was to help the researchers/students/departments with the hope that when it becomes my turn in the OT program, someone somewhere out there would return the favor.
When my class ended yesterday and I went down to the Library commons I had multiple students approaching me, giving me hugs, patting me on the back, saying congrats and "oh my God" you won an iPad. My response was, "what, what are you talking about?" "You filled out a survey and they picked your name." One student, who is an admissions ambassador with me stated, "I am so glad you won because I know you and now I know that someone really does win those things, I am filling out every survey I get from now on too."
I have been telling everyone the story about helping other students and departments at our school by giving them our opinion and letting them collect the data for whatever project they are working on. I have had many experiences that just reconfirm my belief in a higher power and the power of taking action not for yourself, but for those around you. I consider DU of C my second home and believe that God placed me here at this moment in time to be a part of something bigger than me; to become a better man and the best OT I can possibly be. This experience just re-validates that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
With regards to OT, my education, and my fieldwork experiences the iPad is going to be an amazing tool. I have read in OT literature and heard first hand accounts from practicing professionals just how helpful a device like an iPad can be. There are many apps that I will be able to use on my fieldwork and internship experiences that will help my professional development and more importantly the patients I work with. This summer I will be interning at the San Francisco VA and I am so excited to have my new iPad with me.
I have never owned anything like the iPad and was a little nervous just ordering one over the internet without talking to someone from the Apple store. I think it is so amazing, and probably not a coincidence, that a Dominican nursing student was the Apple employee who helped us at the Apple store. He knew about using the iPad in health care settings and agreed that getting the 32GB iPad would be the right fit for school and internship experiences. Maybe its that higher power working in our lives again????
I worked today in admissions and was telling everyone about our story at the Apple store. Every student that saw the email and that has heard my story now says something to the effect of, "I am filling out every survey I get from school from now on." When they say that, I remind them that if they do it for just their own selfish reasons (like winning an iPad) then it will not carry the same meaning. I say, "when you take an action for someone else, to make your school better, or to help a fellow student there is always a reward you just do not know what it will be; in my case, this time, it was an iPad.
Thanks again Yaping and when I receive the iPad I will come by your office so you can check it out. Please let me know if there is anyone else to thank or if there is anything I can do in the future to help your department.
All the Best and Warmest Regards,