By Anna Lothson
Oak Parkers should be checking their mailboxes soon to see if they were chosen to take part in the resident survey the village is sending out to "gauge citizen views on a wide range of community aspects and issues."
These surveys will be showing up in the mailboxes of Oak Parkers selected at random to help the village collect information. The surveys, which should take about 15 minutes to complete, will help policy makers better understand priorities for government action and citizen opinions on quality of life and public services, according to a village news release.
Oak Parkers who receive a survey are urged to promptly complete and return the document to ensure their viewpoints are part of the final tabulation. About 1,200 responses are needed for a 95 percent confidence level. Survey respondents remain anonymous, according to the release.
"Residents who are willing to take the time to complete and return the survey will be doing a great service for the community," Assistant Village Manager Robert Cole, who is overseeing the project, wrote in the release. "The findings of this research will provide important information for planning how best to allocate municipal resources in the future."
National Research Center, Inc. (NRC), a social science research firm whose core business is community surveys, was hired to ensure the scientific validity of the survey results. NRC assisted with surveys conducted in Oak Park in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2011. Results of these past surveys are posted online at oak-park.us and can be found by searching "community surveys."
Through its collaboration with the International City Managers Association, NRC has developed a national database of community surveys and survey questions, which allow the Village to compare many of the results with those from similar communities in Illinois and across the country.
Surveys in 2000 and 2004 were conducted by telephone. But with telephone response rates plummeting across the industry and costs rising, mail has proven to be a more cost-effective approach. In addition, officials say, mail responses tend to be more candid than those gathered by a telephone interviewer.
For more information about the survey, call (708) 358-5791 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.