[Air-L] Comparable survey/evaluation questions for online participants

Steven Clift slc at publicus.net
Thu Nov 12 04:43:54 PST 2009

E-Democracy.org is working up an evaluation of our "rural voices" and
diverse communities Issues Forum efforts. With rural voices we launched four
new online town hall "Issues Forums" and in two low income, high immigrant
neighborhoods we launched some new "neighbor" Issues Forums.

Way back in 2002 (time moves fast!), Jakob Linaa Jensen surveyed a sample of
our forum participants -
http://www.e-democracy.org/research/surveyquestions.html  - back when we
served just three local communities in Minnesota. Now we serve 15
communities with 25 Issues Forums across three countries.

Anyway, I am picking a set of questions for an online survey that we will
run on at least six of our forums and I'd like your input on current
semi-standard questions asked of online participants so we can do some
comparison. I am also interested in additional questions you'd like to see

So what should we ask?

The 2002 questions are here:

Please cc: clift at e-democracy.org so I am sure to see your replies on my main
e-mail account.

For background, here are some links:

http://e-democracy.org/if - Issues Forum Training
http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/536 - Recent volunteer Forum Manager
interviews - rural voices
http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/509 - Video comments from Cass Lake
participant (majority Native American area)
http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/412 - Frogtown outreach (large SE Asian
population neighborhood)
http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/189 - Rural voices launch notes
http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/172 - Outreach in Cedar Riverside (large
East African population)

In this case we are evaluating the outreach/launch process more heavily than
just the participation experience. We do unique things like sign people up
on paper for the online experience, etc.

Also, I am interested in learning about other research on the use of social
media in highly diverse/low income areas. As far as we can tell, folks are
still stuck on access and basic skill training in such areas and are leaving
the "public life" online civic engagement/social media/"we media" content
action to the middle and upper classes. In our view, all communities should
have a real voice online and connect with each other in public life with
their neighbors not just with private life with friends and family which
seems to happen on its own.

Steven Clift, E-Democracy.org

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