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September 13, 2006

Yes, Kevin Whorton needs to blog

It seems ASAE's Membership Section listserv is good fodder for blog posts these days. In the same thread that I posted about a few days ago, Kevin Whorton chimed in with some things he's learned about survey scales in his years as a non-profit marketing professional and consultant. These thoughts are very different from the assumptions we operate under here at our association:

But I've also found it better to provide less variance/fewer options and to provide an odd-numbered scale and/or the N/A option when you're asking about something a person rarely thinks about or hasn't thought about in eons.

That can include many specific member benefits, particularly if the association errs on the side of comprehensively evaluating a large number of services.

I've always felt that indifference is a valid emotional state too, and trying to force a decisive response yields inaccuracies--you can see the number of non-participants for each response item fluctuate more on instruments if you don't give 'em an "out"--they just skip the question instead which leaves you with missing data issues you can either ignore or footnote by documenting "N" (which I rarely see except in academic literature).
I think Kevin Holland was right when he said Kevin Whorton should be blogging. Whorton is one of the association community's biggest data heads (I mean that as a compliment), and in light of the 7 Measures of Success book (which states that great associations crave data when forming strategy) I see a definite opportunity for him to raise his profile even higher.


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