Measuring needs and preferences
Finding out how many citizens have which needs, and what their preferences are between alternative options (e.g. through surveys, opinion polls, preferenda).
- Some consultations set out to find what particular groups of people need.
- Others try to find out what preferences people have between different options.
- In either case, apart from discussion systems, we often use surveys and votes to quantify the needs or preferences.
- Computers can help send out surveys, collect the results, and analyse them. They can also be used to run a quick vote in a meeting, or by subtle analysis of preferences, find underlying consensus between oponents.
Here we are not talking about voting for representatives, but choosing options on issues.
- voting software can help analyse votes
- voting hardware can collect votes from dozens or thousands of people at once
An online survey is designed to replace traditional paper questionnaires.
On-line Survey Cycle:
- Design the survey, edit the questions.
- Respondents fill in the survey in their web browsers.
- Send reminders and invitations by e-mail.
- Get statistics of results.
Online survey tools:
- Survey sites, such as Survey Monkey
- Free and Open Source Software, such as PHP Surveyor, which we have used
- Commercial software. Look for software written by people who understand web programming, not just crude attempts to replicate paper survey design on-line.
- Commercial services, provided by market research companies like Milward Brown.