Dear Lora, Ben, Mary Ellen, & Colleagues:
I want to publicly thank Lora for taking over for me, as well as thank the whole Publications Committee for their hard work. Since I’ve kept my blogging responsibilities, I’ve seen a lot of that hard work.
A few questions: Does the Publications Committee have any further thoughts on the types of queries (i.e. topically) and responses (e.g. free-form or Likert Scales) that will appear in the proposed survey? I’m assuming the responses solicited will involve some statistical analysis since there is the proposal to hire a consultant? Would this endeavor require a new/ad hoc committee?
Thanks in advance for any clarifications you might provide.
Tim, thanks for the kind words and the continued work — and for putting up with all those “moderate this comment” emails. Today was fake Air Jordan day, apparently.
On the survey, I should have used a different word than “propose,” because that makes it sound like we are asking for a vote on something now, which we are not. At this point, we’re making the members aware that we’re working toward this, and welcoming feedback.
On committees — I hope to high heaven that no new ad hoc committee would be required, but I wouldn’t object to it; I’d just prefer not to be in charge of it. But I am not a fan of proposing ideas that make lots of work for somebody else (or vice versa!), so if a committee is called for, I’m willing to do my share. However, in case no one has noticed, I am not a social scientist, so my preference would be enlist someone who has experience constructing/conducting surveys for academic research, or for nonprofit orgs, etc., etc., to design a survey that will best allow us to understand the composition / needs / concerns of our membership, our readers, our potential members (grad students in intellectual history? historians in other disciplines?), etc.
So now is an opportunity for our members to suggest to us what kinds of things they would be interested in knowing. Then we can figure out (with expert help) the best way to design a survey or surveys that will gauge these things. And someone who has done surveys before will be able to point out things we might be missing, or things we haven’t thought to ask but should, etc., etc.
Hope that helps.