Re: student surveys
From: melinda sue merrick (
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 15:41:12 -0700 (MST)
Hello Sharon and others,

As someone who researches cohousing and other types of intentional
communities, I think your idea for a perpetual survey that stays on line
is a good one.  However, my only worry is that the process may backfire if
it is not done in a comprehensive, well thought out manner.  What you seem
to have in mind is a central database of information for all cohousing
members.  It is so important that something like this is not taken lightly
and completed halfway.  That way, you can avoid people having to complete
their information again and again as the on-line form keeps changing
depending on everyone's input.  I suggest that you get all of the input
first before even attempting such a vast project.  This may even be
something that the cohousing network would be interested in being involved

It may be impossible to predict what kind of information students will
want to collect from cohousing folks.  Having an on-line database
with census like information would greatly simplify any future
questionnaires from students, but probably would not stop them completely.

Additionally, I'm not sure if a listserve would be the more appropriate
format.  Would you possibly get more respondents if a central location
like the Cohousing Network were to set up an on-line survey for cohousing
people to fill out?  That way, people wouldn't have to go through the
trouble of subscribing to a group.  The easier it is for people to
complete, the higher the response rate would be.

Obviously, I am really interested in working on a project such as this and
would like to be a part of this process.  If one of the reasons you would
like to do this is to share basic information with students and
researchers, I think it is important to get the input of academicians.

I look forward to future correspondence with you and other cohousers.

Melinda Merrick

Melinda S. Merrick
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
1115 Plant Sciences Laboratory (MC-634)
1201 South Dorner Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
(217)333-4737 Lab/Office
mmerrick [at]

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