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The OAA regularly distributes surveys to its membership regarding topical clinical issues. Here's an introduction to the OAA’s new survey system, where you'll learn how to design, build and submit a survey for review.

Access to the OAA survey system has been a membership benefit for many years. It has allowed members to survey the OAA membership for information on a range of topics relevant to obstetric anaesthesia. The results of these surveys have been presented at national and international meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals, providing a valuable resource to the membership to improve clinical practice and quality of care.

The OAA has a responsibility to the membership to ensure that these surveys are high quality: interesting, relevant, useful, and well designed, and do not repeat other recent similar surveys. The OAA Surveys Subcommittee co-ordinates a peer review process to guarantee the quality of an OAA-approved survey that is distributed to the membership. The authors of a completed survey are expected to summarise the results and learning points in a report that is submitted to the OAA and then made available on the OAA website for the benefit of the whole membership.

The OAA has made a large investment to redevelop and improve the survey system to provide members with an enhanced and more rewarding experience. Through the website you can create a survey in SurveyMonkey and use our new membership database system to distribute the survey to our membership. Authors can use their My OAA portal to submit a survey proposal and check its status through the OAA review process.
To submit a survey there is small non-refundable administration fee to be paid with a further deposit fee for those surveys that are accepted for distribution. This deposit fee is fully refunded when the completed survey report has been received by the OAA secretariat.

Before considering whether to design and submit a survey you should check whether a survey on a similar topic has been circulated to the membership recently. You can visit the OAA survey archive to check what topics have been surveyed and read the reports of the survey results. A survey topic should be relevant to obstetric anaesthesia and be of interest and useful to the membership.

When designing a survey, it’s important to respect the time and effort that will be demanded from another member to complete your survey. There must be no commercial advertising in the survey.

To get a good response rate it’s important to create a survey that’s as concise as possible (up to 10 questions being optimal but no more than 15) using unambiguous questions that are not leading (cause bias) and avoid absolutes (e.g. ‘every’, ‘always’ and ‘all’).

Closed-ended (‘choice questions’) are best as the results are easier to analyse. If open-ended questions are used, then limit them to no more than two questions and put them at the end of the survey.

If a question has a scale of options, then 4-6 options is the optimal number in the scale. e.g. ‘very satisfied’, ‘somewhat satisfied’, ‘neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’, ‘somewhat dissatisfied’, ‘very dissatisfied’.

The question types on the OAA survey system are limited by the application program (API) currently provided by SurveyMonkey for use in third-party websites such as the OAA. There are three possible question types that can be used:
·      Single choice
·      Multiple choice
·      Open (text)

There is no automatic skip logic possible in the survey design. Therefore, if a particular response to a question will lead to another specific question, this will need to be signposted by instructions in the text of the question (e.g. ‘if your answer is (a) please go to Question X’ or ‘if your answer is (b) please go to Question Y’). Alternatively, subsequent subsidiary questions could have the option ‘not applicable’ for those whose previous response to a particular question does not require a subsequent response. 

Put effort into a good design and test your survey on colleagues and friends prior to submission to identify any glitches. It’s also useful to create a paper version of the proposed survey to check the design and flow of questions. Once the optimal survey design has been decided you are ready to build the survey via your My OAA portal.

All surveys submitted by an in-training member require a full member (their consultant supervisor) to be a co-author.

To build a new survey, log on to your My OAA portal and select ‘Surveys’ in the side panel menu. Click on ‘Conduct a survey’.

Fill in the survey details. These details include the survey title, a concise summary to explain what the survey is about and an introduction to the survey explaining to potential survey participants the rationale for the survey and its value. Any references must be included in this introduction (up to a maximum of three). To aid conciseness, character limits have been set for the summary (250 characters with spaces) and introduction (750 characters with spaces).

To add any co-authors their OAA membership numbers will be required. All surveys submitted by an in-training member require a full member (their consultant supervisor) to be a co-author.

Select which OAA membership group is to be surveyed from the drop-down ‘Audience’ list (e.g. ‘Heads of Service’ or ‘Active Members (UK only)’).

Build your survey in the ‘Edit questions’ section.  There are three types of question available: ‘single choice’, ‘multiple choice’ and ‘open ended’.

You can select whether a question is mandatory or not. Beware that using the mandatory option may not be helpful for questions that are conditional on a particular answer in a preceding question. There is character limit (with spaces) of 175 for the question text and 100 for the question options.

When you have completed building your survey you will be able to review it by clicking the ‘View survey preview’ button. This will open a separate webpage preview window on the SurveyMonkey website to show how the survey will appear. You should then return to the OAA website survey window to make any edits and repeat the preview process until you are happy with how your survey looks and are ready to submit it for assessment by the Surveys Subcommittee.

To submit a survey there is small non-refundable administration fee to be paid with a further deposit fee for those surveys that are accepted for distribution. This deposit fee (£100) is fully refunded when the completed survey report has been received by the OAA secretariat.

Once the administration fee has been paid and the survey submitted you can visit the ‘My surveys’ page and check on the status of your survey submission.

All submitted surveys are peer reviewed by OAA survey assessors. The peer review process is co-ordinated by the OAA Surveys Subcommittee. This peer review process is to ensure that only high quality, relevant and useful surveys are distributed to the membership in recognition that our members' time is valuable and should be respected.

A survey is assessed by the reviewers against the following criteria: originality, applicability, relevance, construction and format. The assessors will also assess overall presentation.

Following the peer review process a submitted survey may be rejected or returned to be revised in accordance with the reviewers’ comments or accepted for distribution. The peer review process should take no more than two weeks from the date when it is sent to the assessors for review. The author will be informed when the survey has been sent for assessment and when a decision has been reached.

Please check your email spam folder if you think there has been an excessive delay in receiving your assessment feedback.

If your survey is rejected

There are many reasons why a good survey submission may be rejected. You may have chosen a topic which is interesting but not relevant or widely applicable to obstetric anaesthesia. Or you may have chosen a topic that has already been surveyed recently. Surveys that are poorly designed or poorly worded will be rejected.

If your survey is returned for revision

The reviewers may make recommendations to improve the quality of the survey prior to acceptance. The author will be sent a summary of recommendations. It’s expected that the author will amend their survey in accordance with the recommendations and resubmit the survey for review. There is no additional fee for the resubmission. If the assessors approve the amendments then the survey may be accepted for distribution. The author is only allowed one resubmission. If the recommended revisions have not been appropriately made, then it’s very likely the survey will be rejected.  

If your survey is accepted

When a survey is accepted by the OAA for distribution to the membership, the author is required to make a deposit payment which will be refunded once the author has submitted a report on the results of the survey. On receipt of the deposit payment a SurveyMonkey weblink will be sent out to the particular membership category that has been selected for the survey.

The survey will remain live to participants for six weeks. Reminders will be sent automatically to those survey audience members who haven’t yet participated in the survey within a particular period of time. The Surveys Subcommittee will periodically review the time periods that surveys remain live and when completion reminder emails are sent to members.
Members will be able to complete the survey on their mobile device and will also be able to partially complete the survey, save their progress and then return to fill in the rest of the survey at a later date.

Once the survey is closed the author will receive the survey results in an Excel file. The author is expected to analyse them and write a report to be returned to the OAA. 

The report should be structured like a research paper with title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion and relevant references. The presentation of results should be made accessible by good use of tables or charts. When the OAA have received this report the survey deposit fee will be refunded. The report will then be archived on the membership section of the website for the benefit of the membership.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about the new OAA survey system, please contact the Surveys Subcommittee at secretariat@oaa-anaes.ac.uk

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