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Just a Click Away

By Dan Florell

The constant flow of e-mail continues unabated throughout the day. I typically spend an hour or more reading and answering e-mail and I believe most school psychologists find themselves in similar situations. We all have developed ways of dealing with the onslaught, ranging from constant vigilance to attempting to ignore the e-mail mass until it goes away. Somewhere in between those two approaches is glancing at the e-mail title and who it is from and prioritizing.

The survey is a time honored research technique that has been utilized by academics, professional organizations, businesses, and marketers. Somehow all of them seem to have my e-mail address. I am often tempted to delete the lot of them and be done with it. I think a lot of school psychologists have similar feelings and many have just stopped answering any surveys due to burnout and not being able to take "just 15–20 minutes" out of their day to answer them.

My goal, one I encourage others to adopt, is to fight through that initial impulse and respond to the survey requests. Not necessarily all of the survey requests you receive, but the ones that can have a real impact on our profession. One example of one worthy to respond to was NASP’s recent 5-year membership survey that used e-mail surveys. The response rate was much lower than in prior years and made the results less generalizable. This survey has a huge impact on the field of school psychology. NASP uses the results to see trends in the field and to base some of the organization’s priorities on the responses to the survey. The low response rate means we might misallocate resources due to poor information. This issue has caused a lot of concern at NASP and resulted in NASP tightening its policy on who could send surveys to members due to fears of member survey burnout.

On the other side, the school psychologists of Kentucky recently conducted their own membership survey for the state. Over 65% of all the school psychologists in Kentucky responded, which gives the state association a lot of confidence in the results. These results will be used for advocacy, recruiting, and measuring the current state of the field. It would not have been possible without many school psychologists taking the time to complete the survey because it was worth it for them to spend a small amount of time completing it in order to enhance the overall profession. Next time you receive an e-mail survey, think about its goal and respond when it will help our profession.

Dan Florell, PhD, NCSP, an assistant professor in the school psychology program at Eastern Kentucky University, is the NASP Webmaster