Sometimes I will be reading an article and a blaring headline screams to me about the latest research on testicular cancer, as if that's what I want to read about with my Cheerios in the morning. Other times the research surrounding us can be more subtle. It raises the question-can even the most subtle of research be effective too?
The reason I ask this question is because as I was navigating the University of Minnesota's student help center website, OneStop, I got to the end of the page and there was a very short survey waiting for me. It was comprised of one simple question: "Was this page helpful?" I was then, of course, given the option to answer yes or no. That was it. Even when I answered no, there was no prompt to explain why or why not.
Since my I have been so attuned to research through my enrollment in Jour 3251, I was intrigued and of course felt obligated to answer the question. Since that page didn't include exactly what I was looking for, I answered no, but then when I did find what I was looking for on another page, I answered yes.
In one sense, this very short and subtle survey was probably effective for OneStop Student Services. Because of the simplicity of the survey, many people probably just click yes or no. The problem with such a short survey is that OneStop is left wondering.
No matter how many responses that survey will get, OneStop will never know who has answered the survey, because of this, it will never know whether the respondents were a good representation of the University population or not. Was it a student, a parent, alumni or prospective student who was trying to find an answer to their question.
Likewise, for those who are frustrated to have theoretically read through the entire page of information only to be left searching for an answer and respond with a resounding "NO" to the question, OneStop is again left without answers. How can OneStop improve the webpage in order to better serve future visitors?
I would imagine the best way to better serve future webpage visitors would be to conduct further research on why the page isn't sufficient. It would be the only way to improve their website.
Research really is everywhere. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled.