CESNET-L is being used more and more to launch surveys and to solicit subjects for people doing research in Counselor Education and Supervision. As list owner, I am happy to see that researchers see the value of membership of this list and seek their opinion on various issues. I have thought of a few tips that you should consider before posting your research to CESNET-L
Netiquette suggests you ask the permission of the list owner (Dr. Marty Jencius at email@example.com) before you post a survey to a listserv. It is helpful that your request to post includes the information below in the “In your post:” section, along with an anticipated posting schedule.
Limits on posting to CESNET-L
There has been a flooding of research requests to CESNET-L members, and it is beginning to saturate members' mailboxes. To address this issue I have established some limits based on subject requests.
Requests for our members as subjects: if you are researching counselor educators (roles and curriculum), research that requires responses from members of the list, counselor educators and doctoral students, then you may post the traditional three attempted calls for research.
Requests for secondary subjects: This would be the case if you seek clients, counselors-in-training (masters students), and academics in general (not specific to counselor education). In this case, you ask the list members to pass on your research to such subjects. Since this is not directly related to listserv members as subjects, you are limited to one post for your research call. You may wish to look at lists that feature counselors-in-training (like COUNSGRAD) or other formats to find subjects. Spamming the list for multiple calls for subjects who are not members of the list is a Netiquette violation.
In your survey/research:
1. How long is your survey? Have someone unfamiliar with your survey take it and time them. Double it... We often underestimate the amount of time it takes people to take these. To make our research question broad, we overextend the survey. it says 5-10 minutes, I stop at 5-10 minutes...
2. How many variables do you have, and what is your instrument's 'power' need? If your inventory has so many variables that you need over 6500 respondents to show significance, you are in trouble from the start. Begging more people to take the survey won't help in this case, and looks desperate.
3. Members of CESNET-L are typically counselor educators and doctoral students who are emerging counselor educators. Suppose the subject pool for your study is left-handed male clients with the diagnosis of trichotillomania who are currently receiving treatment. In that case, CESNET-L is not the list for your survey. Think about the subject pool you are seeking before you post.
4. I have no demographics on the population of membership of CESNET-L, so I have nothing for you to compare your sample with to the population of membership. If you need to know the larger population of the group are sampling, CESNET-L is not the place for you.
5. Make sure your demographics permit anonymity if that is what you are promising. Also, there is a tendency for folks to ask about demographics that they don't need. All those extra variables you add to your project raise the power of the sample that you will need to show the significance and the N that you will need.
6. Avoid begging for subjects for your study. It is considered spam on a listserv, and I will drop your ability to post
7. Set a reasonable schedule for a second and third (final) request. Consider it similar to mail-out surveys. The Internet makes it easy for folks to "pester until you get enough people," I am not sure that is a good research methodology. What does it say about the participant you get on the fifth request? Those who violate the third request rule are now subject to removal from the list.
8. Now that CESNET-L and listserv solicitation of subjects is part of your methodology, you should become well-versed on the limits of listserv and how they can be used in research.
In your post:
1. Include everything you would include in a cover letter if you were mailing the survey. This generally means…
a. Your Name
b. Your contact information, both email and direct (phone).
c. Your advisor and their contact information (This is now a requirement!!! Research advisors, please make sure you preview the posting and the posting schedule.)
d. Your institutional affiliation
e. An indication that it has passed the institutional review board
f. Purpose of the study
g. The reason you are doing the study ("to fulfill the degree requirements for …" )
h. How the results will be used
i. Permission to withdraw at anytime
(You will be surprised how many people miss the above content in their posts, and it reflects poorly on the person, the advisor, and the institution.)
2. Make sure that your survey link is correct. Test it in a personal email sent to yourself or someone else before posting it to the list.