Introducing the SharperIron Reader Survey

By the end of January 2010, SharperIron will have been on the Web for a full five years. Those years have seen quite a bit of change. At SI, members have come and gone, the moderating team has changed and one owner/publisher has passed the baton to another. And SharperIron’s context has changed as well. Fundamentalism’s self perception has shifted, the Internet has continued to morph. Blogging has passed out of the “amazing new phenomenon” phase and social networking is now familiar to all. We can only assume that SI’s readers have changed in various ways as well. But we have no idea how they’ve changed. 

This survey can partly solve that problem. We didn’t know a great deal about who SI’s readers were and what they thought in the early days, so we lack a baseline. But if participation is robust, we will be able to get a much clearer picture of who reads SharperIron now and what they value most and least about it.

Please take the time to complete the survey.  You’ll note that the survey is divided into three sections. The first gathers some demographic information. The second focuses on evaluating reader’s use of, and opinions about, SharperIron. The third polls for views on some issues. A few of the questions in parts one and two are required in order to turn the survey in. The rest are optional, but we’d like to see as many complete surveys as possible.

Questions and Answers

Is it anonymous?
Yes. Theoretically be possible to trace some IP addresses to individuals, but we have no interest in doing nor do any of us have the time to figure it how to do it.

Can I do the survey more than once?
There are ways to do this, but please don’t. We’re looking for accuracy here.

What are the goals?
One goal is to be able to provide better information to our sponsors regarding who visits the site. Another is to find out what SI readers are thinking about the site itself and help us make decisions about how to improve what we offer and chart a course for the future.

Will you publish the results?
We will publish results of most if not all the questions.

Why should I bother?

  1. To help SI improve. There must be something you like about it if you’re reading this. The survey might help there be much more you like about it.
  2. A voice for non-members.  If you aren’t an SI member, we only have a couple of ways of knowing what you think. One is if you send us an email or comment via the site contact form. But it’s hard to generalize from the few who do that. The survey is a great opportunity for non-members to tell us what they think in a way we can measure.
  3. Get included in the results. If you don’t participate, your views may be under-represented.
  4. The more who participate, the more valid the results will be.
  5. In the multitude of counselors there is safety. Counsel us.
  6. It won’t take all that long.
  7. It’s fun to share your opinions, especially anonymously.

Thanks for your help with making SharperIron a better place!

Click here to take the survey.

3638 reads

There are 16 Comments

KevinM's picture

Dude. Like, where's the questions about church music?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Yeah, I had a church music question and several others floating around, but had to quit somewhere. Maybe on the next one.

(We have 125 responses so far. Already very interesting!)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Idea hits me. Let's do a "Reader to Reader" survey mid 2010 consisting entirely of questions submitted by SI readers.
Please post them here: http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-questions-for-next-survey

If you're not a member and would like to submit a question for the R2R Survey, submit it via the contact form here: http://sharperiron.org/contact
Thanks.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

ChrisC's picture

KevinM wrote:
Dude. Like, where's the questions about church music?
i think if you have a lot of responses for "Remove all non-Fundamentalists from the forums" or if "How often should SI challenge the Fundamentalist status quo and discuss controversial points?" is answered by a lot of "Much less than it does now" that you'll have your answer about church music.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Biggrin
ChrisC... No, I don't think so. There are quite a few fundies now that are pretty ambivalent about whether music style determines whether you're a fundamentalist or not... especially if you ask folks in the pews. I think what we'd want to find out on the music subject--to get a clear picture--would be three questions... one measuring the individual's views on music (for worship purposes I think), one measuring their view on how seriously they take the matter, and one on whether a person's position can disqualify them to be a fundamentalist. Probably could combine the first two if the answer options are thorough.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Teri Ploski's picture

I couldn't answer the question about college. I started but never finished my degree at Cedarville. I went for two years as an accounting major, and took all but one of the required Bible courses. I absolutely would love to finish my degree, problem is now I don't know what I would like to major in. Something that would lend itself to an ESL certification, certainly, but I don't really want to major in English, and I don't think a Bible degree would really work. Plus, unless I take on-line courses, the closest decent Christian college to me is in Phoenix, and that's just a little too far. So, if and when you ever decide to start on-line courses here, sign me up!

BryanBice's picture

I see you discovered SurveyMonkey! I found it extremely helpful for my dissertation project, as well as for a survey of NTA churches. Hope you find it equally beneficial.

Mike Durning's picture

I was intrigued by the one about "Remove all non-Fundamentalists from the forums". It's clear that anyone who checks this has a VERY definite idea of who are and are not Fundamentalists. What's not clear is whether anyone else would agree with them.

One of the characteristics of all Fundamentalists seems to be that they universally perceive everyone to the left of them as liberal and everyone to the right of them as a lunatic. So, culling the SI membership would be a bit of challenge unless one person had absolute authority on the issue.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Don't worry. That's about measuring attitudes... that is, what we want to know is how many people believe that would be a good thing based on their own notion of what it would look like. Since--as you pointed out--everybody's got his own list of disqualifiers (with a lot of overlap though), all that can measure is attitude/perception.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Don't worry. That's about measuring attitudes... that is, what we want to know is how many people believe that would be a good thing based on their own notion of what it would look like. Since--as you pointed out--everybody's got his own list of disqualifiers (with a lot of overlap though), all that can measure is attitude/perception.

You are right. Since everyone who joins SI agrees to the Statement of Faith which defines fundamentalism, as far as this site is concerned, anyone who asks us to trash others who agree to this statement is really criticizing the premise of the site. I would tend to believe those who would do so end up leaving SI anyway.

I think we have some great discussions within parameters that are broad enough for reasonable debate, but what we are NOT debating are the fundamentals. I like that.

"The Midrash Detective"

mounty's picture

Do we get "I voted" pins? If you guys make an online store would you sell "I voted" pins? Biggrin

Greg Linscott's picture

Just have "I voted" profile pics...

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Ed Vasicek wrote:
I think we have some great discussions within parameters that are broad enough for reasonable debate, but what we are NOT debating are the fundamentals. I like that.

That's what I like as well. If we only allowed members who agreed on everything (HA! like that's even possible) then SI would be the most boring place on the internet. But because we agree on certain fundamentals, we can discuss and debate on a wide variety of topics. I learn a lot here, especially from people with whom I don't agree, because then I have to examine more deeply why I believe what I believe.

I'm hoping that folks who lurk will take the survey, and give a picture of why some don't participate in the forums.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Susan R ][quote=Ed Vasicek wrote:
I learn a lot here, especially from people with whom I don't agree, because then I have to examine more deeply why I believe what I believe.

You know, that's one of the blessing of SI. I have learned a lot here, and also been given leads to some great books I would not have known existed. I especially appreciate our evaluations of difficult or complex passages. Sometimes the Bible IS rocket science.

"The Midrash Detective"

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