Have you filled out the Liveable Ottawa survey?

Since I just inflicted this email on my Ottawa based contact list, I figured I'd share it here too. You've filled out the survey, right?

Updated: Amy wrote back to comment on how the survey has some deficiencies, see below.


Things are very hectic as we prepare for a snap provincial election, so I've been remiss in emailing you about an important topic. I'll make this quick!

Have you filled out the Liveable Ottawa survey? Over 5,000 people in Ottawa have - but we need to ensure that as many viewpoints as possible are represented. 

I know you care about an affordable city that has good biking, walking, and public transit infrastructure. I know you care about congestion on our roads and the resulting air pollution. Should we let Ottawa sprawl more, or get serious about appropriate intensification? These are the types of questions the survey addresses.

It is especially important you participate because there is no urban-core representation on the Official Plan review teams. It's important that urban-core issues are addressed - it's up to all of us to ensure as many people from within the Greenbelt voice their opinion. I hope you'll take 5 or 10 minutes before the February 28th deadline to participate in the survey.

You can read-up on the Official Plan review on ottawa.ca if you'd like some more information before answering the survey. But it's not required reading - so feel free to jump right in and answer questions!

Many thanks.

Amy Dillon wrote back with some comments on the survey's construction. Over to you Amy:

I'm very pleased that my opinion is being solicited, and very concerned that the poor survey design will impact the feedback the survey is designed to gather in at least two ways:

  1. Low response rate relative to the number of people who have feedback and want to provide it.  It took a lot of work to figure out what some of the questions are asking and which response best matches my opinion.  This means that people may give up and you won't get their feedback.
  2. People's responses may not match their opinions.  The non-standard approach to asking questions on a 5 point scale, combined with the double negative questions makes it very confusing.  I know what I want to say, but does that mean I support or oppose? The way the questions are worded is very confusing. And if I support, I have to remember that's a 1, whereas normally I would expect to use the higher number to reflect support or agreement. ACK!

I know it is very easy to create an on-line survey these days, but it is very important to have experienced researchers develop the survey to ensure the survey design makes it easy to meet the survey objectives.  

I am so pleased public input is being solicited, and absolutely support these efforts to involve me and everyone else in our community.  Please, please, please encourage the individuals responsible for the survey to get experienced help in survey design the next time they want public input. If they had experienced help, then I suggest iterating the design through a few pilot runs would be invaluable.


Others have voiced similar concerns: