Tips and suggestions for using the questionnaire

These tips and suggestions will make the impact questionnaire as effective and useful as possible.


Don’t change the wording of questions 1-5. If all the libraries use the same questions we can collate data. Feedback your ideas and comments through the Value and Impact Blog.

If you already have an established system in place for collecting impact data then consider changing the wording to the evidence-based questions 1-5 in the generic questionnaire. This will mean your results can feed into a bigger picture for NHS libraries in England.

If you add local questions don’t make the survey too long, or try to cover too many things (choose between a satisfaction survey, an impact survey etc.). The Value and Impact toolkit can support best practice, and be used to check the approach.

If you add a question asking for a name and email, don’t forget to include a statement about where the personally identifiable data will be stored. If this is on servers outside of NHS approved areas you may need a risk assessment for data security, and check with your local information governance lead.

If your library users are not from typical NHS staff roles you might need to add some options to question 6. (e.g. local authority staff, public health employee)

If you are an NHS England library and will be submitting your data (doesn’t matter how few returns you have) then save data from questions 1-5 in Excel. It will probably be collected at the same time as the annual NHS library statistic returns. You will have your own results for local use, but centrally the results will be anonymous.

Check with your local library lead for any support or agreed processes for collecting Impact data (e.g. if you have a paid SurveyMonkey subscription you can ask for a copy of the questionnaire from [email protected] – send your username)

Lessons from the questionnaire pilot:

  • Plan your approach to using the questionnaire – will you use it during a single sample period, or send it out after each literature search, or do a one-off annual survey of all your users?
  • Think through who you are sending the questionnaire to, and when. This influences the claims you can make about the results.
  • Rigorous methodology and sampling locally may allow you to make generalizable claims about the findings.
  • If practical (and you want to know the response rate) take a note of how many questionnaires are emailed/sent/given (one site kept a spread sheet cross-site of names and emails during a sample week so they didn't keep asking the same people)
  • Decide if you will just send emails, or have paper copies in the library, or offer tablets for online completion etc (depends on your users what works best. One site was very successful 12 August 2016 with tablets, one site had a good return with just emails, another site had a low return with just emails, one had the highest number from paper copies)
  • For the best response involve your teams with the practicalities, engagement of users and promotion

Interview schedule and case study forms

The tools are evidence based and can be used in different ways, including research (when ideally the research results will be formally published). The interview schedules are helpful to guide in-depth interviews to capture “stories” about impact. Data captured this way can be transferred onto case study forms and submitted to a national or geographical collection.

Some areas (including Kent, Surrey and Sussex) are collecting at least 3 case studies per year to be collected with LQAF until an online submission process is available.

A few libraries have reported that they use the case study form directly with users (rather than the interview schedule) and include a consent statement so that all quotes can be used in annual reports, documents, collected centrally etc.