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Community Surveys

Community surveys, if properly designed and administered, provide local government decision makers with citizen feedback that is representative of the entire community — not just the vocal few. Having accurate and representative community input is critical when local governments update their strategic or master plans and engage in the following:

  • Budgeting
  • Goal setting
  • Economic development
  • Measuring performance
  • Monitoring quality of life
  • Assessing community needs
  • Evaluating municipal services

Opinion Research Specialists has surveyed hundreds of communities since 1991. We have designed and conducted more than 100 surveys for the City of Springfield including ongoing citizen surveys, utility customer surveys, workforce development surveys, as well as surveys focusing on parks, law enforcement, water supply, and center city development. Our expertise and success in conducting citizens surveys have been highlighted in the Missouri Municipal Review.

Library Surveys

Opinion Research Specialists has considerable experience designing and conducting surveys for libraries throughout Missouri and other states. To meet changing community needs it is imperative that libraries periodically conduct scientifically valid surveys of library users, non-users, and voters as part of their strategic planning process. For example, our research for the Springfield-Greene County Library District was instrumental in the passage of tax measures to fund the 82,000 square-foot Library Center and the 36,000 square-foot Library Station.

Library Users: Surveys of library users measure satisfaction with library services and programs, identify services/programs patrons would like to see expanded or made available, evaluate staff performance, and assess effectiveness of public communication efforts.

Library Non-Users: Surveys of non-users pinpoint specific reasons why these individuals do not use their local library and generate a demographic/geographic profile of this group. This information is critical when designing an effective outreach strategy to attract non-users to the library.

Voters: Successful passage of a tax measure requires surveying “likely” voters to ascertain level of support and intensity, identify aspects of the measure liked most and least, and test the effectiveness of various campaign messages.

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School Surveys

Over the past 25 years, educational institutions throughout Missouri have relied on Opinion Research Specialists to survey their teachers/staff, parents, voters, and community at large. We use a combination of qualitative (human-centered design) and quantitative methodologies to ensure that the voices of these important stakeholder groups are heard. This hybrid approach provides school leaders with the data they need to make strategic planning decisions about the future of their district. 

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For example, the qualitative and quantitative research we have conducted over the past two decades for the Springfield R-12 school district (largest school district in Missouri) has assisted with the passage of more than 300 million dollars of investments by Springfield voters. Likewise, our surveys and focus groups of parents, staff, and the community were instrumental in developing the Joplin School District’s five-year strategic plan (2016–2020) and passage of a $25 million bond issue in 2020. Using this same research approach, we helped the Mehlville School District in 2021 pass their first bond issue in 30 years. And for the past 14 years, Ozarks Technical Community College (third largest community college in Missouri) has relied on Opinion Research Specialists to conduct their annual district-wide survey for strategic planning purposes.

Employee Surveys

Employee surveys allow management to address employee concerns before they adversely impact the work environment. To ensure the integrity and confidentiality of survey results, organizations should seek the assistance of professionally trained, independent research companies like Opinion Research Specialists. For more than 20 years we have conducted employee surveys on a regular basis for clients in local government and the utility industry. Our expertise in this field has been highlighted in Public Personnel Management, State and Local Government Review, and the Missouri Municipal Review. Our survey methodology consistently yields employee response rates between 70% and 90% using in-person, mail, and online survey collection strategies.

Employee perceptions that we measure and track include:

  • Physical work environment
  • Training opportunities
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Internal communications
  • Utilization of job skils
  • Organizational commitment
  • Pay and benefits
  • Work/life balance
  • Workload distribution
  • Immediate supervisor
  • Co-workers
  • Overall job satisfaction
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