• Jason Carter
    55
    If anyone would like to contribute what questions they would like to see asked in a survey about the state of ringing at a local/regional/national level, I will incorporate them into an excel document. I guess questions should be focused at a 'tower' level, but I do also wonder whether a 'ringer' level survey would also be useful, but much harder to return a critical mass of responses.
  • John Harrison
    184
    you could start by looking at the questions asked in previous surveys, notably the full 1988 survey and the more recent pilot survey run by the Ringing Trends Committee.
  • Simon Linford
    220
    @Graham John was suggesting this sort of survey a little while ago - we have much better tools to use for surveys now than we did when previous surveys were undertaken. I also think he was suggesting the same idea as you Jason - a consistent set of questions which could be used regionally and repeatedly.

    It is important in any area to get data from towers that do not respond, otherwise you will not learn about the towers with not enough ringers.
  • Jason Carter
    55
    I have the reports, but I don't think they have a list of questions as such. Do the questions exist in a format that can be more quickly copied, rather than having to read the whole report and reinvent what the questions were? Not difficult to do per se, but more time consuming...
  • Alison Hodge
    106
    I may be able to find some of the past questions for reuse if required, if old computers and paper files cooperate. However, from my previous work with the old CCCBR Trends Committee, it is worth revising the questions carefully before reusing.

    We need to decide what answers we want, then construct the questions to elicit responses clearly. We found before that analysis was hampered because the question sets had not been constructed appropriately. Also, don't be overambitious about the answers to be obtained - too many questions just annoy those being surveyed.

    Previous work also highlighted the need for more use of initial informal discussions face to face with a few people with different experiences, to understand how they would interpret the questions. This then needs to be followed by a small scale pilot survey to make sure that the responses can be analysed appropriately and will produce meaningful results, before going further.
  • A J Barnfield
    213
    Then there is the question of how to collect the information.

    Contact every ringer? Probably impossible.

    Sample of individual ringers? Difficult to obtain true random sample and thus avoid bias.

    Contact every tower? If this is done by issuing the questions to the tower contacts it can be a right old game getting replies and I suspect that RMs/TCs who do reply want to set themselves in as good a light as possible and might tend to give an overly generous description.

    Perhaps best done by visits to towers? I know some surveys have been done this way before. Perhaps anyone who has been involved in doing it this way could comment?

    And of course the "tower band" is a bit of a vague concept given the amount of clustering and helping out that goes on.
  • Jason Carter
    55
    If you can that would be great. It would be useful to cross reference to. The 1988 survey, I am still reading, but it asked five different groups, TC's, individuals, incumbents, Associations and branches. Maybe a question bank is needed to pick from.
    Who to ask what is a difficult question. Honest answers is what we need e.g. some towers will want to be left to their own devices, but we need to find the towers or individuals that want help, or are willing to take new recruits and then work out how that can be delivered.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    74
    I've been thinking about doing this too. The two things that have been holding me back are: 1.the belief that something central is coming, and 2. what questions to ask?

    Would it be worth pooling resources to get a good set of survey questions that could be asked, that anyone could then use locally? Then this could be used as frequently as individuals wanted to, and if a database comes down the road, no-doubt some volunteers will come forward to populate it with anything already gathered.
    Jason Carter

    1. I have a suspicion that the something central might end up being me, as I have recently been appointed to lead the Intelligence section of the Central Council Volunteer & Liaison workgroup. Certainly not a one-man job, though, so I should be grateful for volunteers to assist.

    2. I imagine the main things we’ll want to find out are: the number of ringers, the skill level of ringers, their age profile, their geographical distribution, whether they ring in multiple towers, frequency of practice and service ringing, and additional teaching facilities (like simulators).

    Getting towers to respond is enough of a task in itself, without trying to get individuals to respond. For any area, it needs to be comprehensive as @Simon Linford says so we have an accurate picture of ringing in an area. Really, it needs to be strongly supported by local officials or 'big names' who have the clout with tower officials in their area to get responses out of them.

    Perhaps best done by visits to towers? I know some surveys have been done this way before. Perhaps anyone who has been involved in doing it this way could comment?A J Barnfield

    Interesting, but time and labour intensive - one of my proposed areas for study has 188 towers! It could also seem like the Central Council is sending out spies or inspectors :lol:

    And of course the "tower band" is a bit of a vague concept given the amount of clustering and helping out that goes on.A J Barnfield

    Any survey would probably need an open text field to describe local arrangements and 'helping out'.

    Previous work also highlighted the need for more use of initial informal discussions face to face with a few people with different experiences, to understand how they would interpret the questions. This then needs to be followed by a small scale pilot survey to make sure that the responses can be analysed appropriately and will produce meaningful results, before going further.Alison Hodge

    This project would need the involvement of the V&L Red Team (they are tasked with investigating how ideas would go down with the wider ringing public and other ringing organisations).
  • John de Overa
    238
    Getting towers to respond is enough of a task in itself ... it needs to be strongly supported by local officials or 'big names'Tristan Lockheart

    I think it's worth pointing out that towers can be "off the grid", for decades nobody at my home tower was in the association so we were unreachable. Even now there are only 3 of us. Without including those sorts of towers, any survey is going to be misleading - and sorry, no I don't know how you solve that problem! :grin:
  • Jason Carter
    55
    my words are in bold text.

    Quotes are in plain text................

    1. I have a suspicion that the something central might end up being me, as I have recently been appointed to lead the Intelligence section of the Central Council Volunteer & Liaison workgroup. Certainly not a one-man job, though, so I should be grateful for volunteers to assist.Tristan Lockheart

    Congratulations! I am not on the Central Council but I would be very happy to assist you.

    2. I imagine the main things we’ll want to find out are: the number of ringers, the skill level of ringers, their age profile, their geographical distribution, whether they ring in multiple towers, frequency of practice and service ringing, and additional teaching facilities (like simulators).Tristan Lockheart

    I have started writing a list of questions in excel. Simon Linford said:
    we have much better tools to use for surveys now than we did when previous surveys were undertaken.Simon Linford

    Not sure what 'tools' Simon is thinking about, however, I think excel could deliver on this with a small amount of manual intervention required... but if there is a more sophisticated way to collect the data then I'm very happy to embrace that instead. Either way, the next collection of data will be significantly easier to achieve than the 1988 exercise, which must have been a considerable challenge for those involved!!

    By the way, I started a new job on Monday, so I am very time poor atm, but I will continue to try and develop a question bank in excel for the time being. It will be easily transferable into a more sophisticated platform if one is preferred.


    Getting towers to respond is enough of a task in itself, without trying to get individuals to respond. For any area, it needs to be comprehensive as Simon Linford says so we have an accurate picture of ringing in an area. Really, it needs to be strongly supported by local officials or 'big names' who have the clout with tower officials in their area to get responses out of them.Tristan Lockheart

    If I look at ringing on a (my branch) "micro" level... there are about 21 towers in my branch. I know that 1 is unringable, at least 1 doesn't have a band and several towers collaborate. In addition, 1 or 2 towers will not want any help (whether they need it or not). For the rest of the towers I want to know: if they have enough (or any) teachers?, if they have enough ringers?, if they want to recruit? I could easily ask these questions at my micro level. And then I can potentially assist or mobilise assistance locally.

    In the G&BDA if there was one person prepared to do the same micro analysis then for the 11 or so branches in the G&B, the analysis would be done.

    If you can then expand that by Territorial Association (60 odd...?) then you would have a complete picture
    .

    The 1988 survey asked five different groups: TC's, Incumbents, Individual ringers, branches and associations. I think this was too much and that TC's is all we need to approach. They just need to be honest and work with their band. Does anyone have a different opinion on this view?

    Can anyone think of different questions that need to be asked at the "macro" (big picture) level?

    I can't.

    This is why I am not convinced that a shift to a DMO (for all ringers) is the way forward.

    We just need to give the branches and associations the help (and leadership) that they need, so that they can work in a more dynamic way, and maybe we need some new blood as well... and on that subject if a group of people are ready to come forward, I'm sure some of the "old guard" will happily step back.

    Returning to the method of collection, I think excel could cope with all of the data (and I still need to test this at a small level). And excel is "relatively" straightforward for most people to use. A more sophisticated system may require some assistance from a smaller group of people to gather the information that we are trying to collect.

    Previous work also highlighted the need for more use of initial informal discussions face to face with a few people with different experiences, to understand how they would interpret the questions. This then needs to be followed by a small scale pilot survey to make sure that the responses can be analysed appropriately and will produce meaningful results, before going further.Alison Hodge

    I think a tester would be a good idea. Happy to be that guinea pig...
  • Jason Carter
    55


    I think it's worth pointing out that towers can be "off the grid", for decades nobody at my home tower was in the association so we were unreachable. Even now there are only 3 of us. Without including those sorts of towers, any survey is going to be misleading - and sorry, no I don't know how you solve that problem! :grin:John de Overa

    But surely those towers still belong to an association ** if only by geography ** somewhere...

    So a channel of communication remains, even if membership is not "up to date"

    Whoever is doing the review "on their patch" needs to find a way of talking to all of the towers in their area, whether that is via email, letter, or turning up to a local practice night.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    74
    Congratulations! I am not on the Central Council but I would be very happy to assist you.Jason Carter

    Membership of the Central Council is definitely not a prerequisite for helping out with CC projects!

    Not sure what 'tools' Simon is thinking about, however, I think excel could deliver on this with a small amount of manual intervention required... but if there is a more sophisticated way to collect the data then I'm very happy to embrace that instead. Either way, the next collection of data will be significantly easier to achieve than the 1988 exercise, which must have been a considerable challenge for those involved!!Jason Carter

    Excel is a decent format for questions; there are also a number of online survey tools which can directly feed into a spreadsheet.

    If you can then expand that by Territorial Association (60 odd...?) then you would have a complete picture.Jason Carter

    Something to aspire to, certainly. Even an incomplete picture would give a great insight into the current situation, and a format which allows continual additions to the dataset would be a boon.

    The 1988 survey asked five different groups: TC's, Incumbents, Individual ringers, branches and associations. I think this was too much and that TC's is all we need to approach. They just need to be honest and work with their band. Does anyone have a different opinion on this view?Jason Carter

    I think any examination of associations and guilds would be more relevant to a separate project examining societies specifically, perhaps linked more directly to Ringing 2030. We also need to avoid bogging the project down too much with too many features, as it increases the pressure on those leading it and takes away the focus from the core objectives. TCs would be more than sufficient.

    Can anyone think of different questions that need to be asked at the "macro" (big picture) level?

    I can't.
    Jason Carter

    The macro can be extracted from the micro, and the spatial analysis can be multi-level, to get a picture of ringing in an area. No need for macro questions in this project.

    Returning to the method of collection, I think excel could cope with all of the data (and I still need to test this at a small level). And excel is "relatively" straightforward for most people to use. A more sophisticated system may require some assistance from a smaller group of people to gather the information that we are trying to collect.Jason Carter

    .csv files can be used to produce maps, graphs and charts, so is probably the best format to use.. We could provide online e-forms to be sent to towers and e-forms which could be used for the easy input of paper forms by the local reps. It wouldn't take much on our end, and it would make the local side of things simple even for those with a fairly basic level of computer literacy.

    But surely those towers still belong to an association ** if only by geography ** somewhere...

    So a channel of communication remains, even if membership is not "up to date"

    Whoever is doing the review "on their patch" needs to find a way of talking to all of the towers in their area, whether that is via email, letter, or turning up to a local practice night.
    Jason Carter

    Yes, it may require a three phase approach; firstly emails to all towers with emails, chased up with phone calls if necessary. Any towers with radio-silence would then get a letter or two, with the final resort being a local rep turning up on a practice night or service ringing session. Throughout this, it's important that it's a local person doing this so that the process is more personal and more likely to get a response. No members does not mean no activity - @Peter Sotheran mentioned on another thread that 42% of Yorkshire Association towers do not have a single member, and many others have very few members based on a flick through of the latest annual report.
  • John de Overa
    238
    TCs would be more than sufficientTristan Lockheart

    I think that entirely depends on what you want to find out. There's inevitably going to be a degree of bias from TCs. No TC is going to say "I have no clue how to run things, my ringers are pissed off, many are going to quit and my tower is on its last legs".

    The CCCBR's strategic priorities are couched in terms of the needs and aspirations of individual ringers, which I think is right. If you want to find out what individual ringers think then you need to ask them. That should be possible for a reasonable subset via existing association contact mechanisms - email, Facebook etc, but I realise that's not easy. However a workplace employee survey that only asked managers how things are going would be unlikely to accurately reflect the views of employees.
  • Peter Sotheran
    54
    Recognising the general lethargy especially amongst the less active towers, the only way to collect meaningful results would be to persuade branch officials to knock on doors or phone the TCs and ask the questions directly. I managed this a few years back when I was curious about the level and manner of use of simulators installed across North Yorkshire. It was a tedious task but I was able to draw a fairly broad picture.
  • A J Barnfield
    213
    Firstly, thank you very much indeed to those who are taking an active interest in this topic and have the technological skills and motivation to make something happen.

    I am inclined to agree with John that it would be good to contact each individual ringer. But we don't have any obvious workable system for that. Random sampling would be a possibility but obtaining a random sample, free of bias, would, I think, be difficult.

    I also agree that the range of questions and those surveyed needs to be much narrower in scope than the 1988 survey.

    I think concentrate on individual ringers and TCs. I think I would go a little bit broader than Jason's questions. These seem to address numbers and the requirement for new ringers and ability to provide initial training. If we are going for a full survey I think we should also try to get a feel for levels of experience and capacity to provide continuing T&D.

    If all we worry about is getting people on the end of a rope and make the bell go dong there is no future for method ringing.
  • A J Barnfield
    213
    I agree. I think a direct approach will be needed to chase up replies if the data is to be meaningful. Is the branch/district structure robust enough to achieve that these days?

    Do we need to run some sort of stress test to see if the existing Guld/Association, district/branch set up would be able to collect the data?
  • Peter Sotheran
    54
    I guess you would need to pick a small selection of branches with differing profiles - for example the N.Yorks branch of the YACR is largely rural and covers an area greater than the entire Kent ACR! Compare this with the districts based in large urban centres. Very different profiles and, I imagine, very different results.
  • John de Overa
    238
    it would be good to contact each individual ringer. But we don't have any obvious workable system for thatA J Barnfield

    I think it would need help from the associations - as a rank & file ringer I get regular emails from three I ring in, but admittedly that route is only going to reach those of us that are members. The Facebook ringing groups are another route to individuals - both the "regular" ones, the association specific ones and the ones where the learners hang out. As you say it's going to be difficult to get a truly random sample, but perfect is the enemy of good, as they say :smile:
  • Tristan Lockheart
    74
    I think that entirely depends on what you want to find out. There's inevitably going to be a degree of bias from TCs. No TC is going to say "I have no clue how to run things, my ringers are pissed off, many are going to quit and my tower is on its last legs".John de Overa

    We will have to consider this very carefully. It may need a separate section where it clearly indicated that tower-level information will not be seen by anyone else other than the survey team, and such information will only be presented on a district level.

    I am inclined to agree with John that it would be good to contact each individual ringer. But we don't have any obvious workable system for that. Random sampling would be a possibility but obtaining a random sample, free of bias, would, I think, be difficult.A J Barnfield

    I can't see a way to do it. There is no data for us to create a stratified sampling method, and engaging with those individuals selected as part of the sample would be so difficult as to create sampling bias.

    I also agree that the range of questions and those surveyed needs to be much narrower in scope than the 1988 survey.A J Barnfield

    Without having sight of the survey report (which I suggest is required for this project to progress), I would not be able to comment on whether it should be narrower. But certainly we will need to balance the aid of completion with the reality that this will be the only opportunity to collect anything near a comprehensive dataset for ringing - this is a rare opportunity.

    I think we should also try to get a feel for levels of experience and capacity to provide continuing T&D.A J Barnfield

    Yes, it is unfortunate that the supply of ringers is not readily considered to include the supply of teachers and trainers. This could also be integrated into a potential future survey of associations.

    Is the branch/district structure robust enough to achieve that these days?

    Do we need to run some sort of stress test to see if the existing Guld/Association, district/branch set up would be able to collect the data?
    A J Barnfield

    I don't think formally tying it to guilds and associations is necessarily desireable. They are quite varied groups; some would approach the task with vim and vigour, others would be apathetic and not really get it done, and others yet might oppose it for any number of reasons. Associations however bring with them what should be a good ready-made team with the knowledge of their areas and the resources to carry out the task. Therefore, guilds would be the optimum medium, but in lieu of them, local individuals could be brought together to form a team. There would definitely need to be a guild-by-guild audit of capabilities before we leave the data collection in their hands.

    I guess you would need to pick a small selection of branches with differing profiles - for example the N.Yorks branch of the YACR is largely rural and covers an area greater than the entire Kent ACR! Compare this with the districts based in large urban centres. Very different profiles and, I imagine, very different results.Peter Sotheran

    Certainly in terms of the primary focus of the team, that would be good to ensure at least some indicative data, with the contributions of others filling in the picture further. YACR's Leeds, Western, Central and Sheffield branches struck me as an interesting location to survey, as well as being an area where I have contacts and a basic understanding of the geography.

    I think it would need help from the associations - as a rank & file ringer I get regular emails from three I ring in, but admittedly that route is only going to reach those of us that are members. The Facebook ringing groups are another route to individuals - both the "regular" ones, the association specific ones and the ones where the learners hang out. As you say it's going to be difficult to get a truly random sample, but perfect is the enemy of good, as they say :smile:John de Overa

    The CCCBR's strategic priorities are couched in terms of the needs and aspirations of individual ringers, which I think is right. If you want to find out what individual ringers think then you need to ask them. That should be possible for a reasonable subset via existing association contact mechanisms - email, Facebook etc, but I realise that's not easy. However a workplace employee survey that only asked managers how things are going would be unlikely to accurately reflect the views of employees.John de Overa

    I think there is a danger of trying to do too much in a single project. I think it is probably prudent to separate quantitative data (which urgently needs comprehensive sampling to get decent data) and qualitative data (where acquiring themes means that getting a comprehensive sample is not as urgent - we can stratify based on the results of the quant. data). Trying to get a comprehensive sample is easier with a known quantity (towers) as opposed to an unknown quantity (ringers). I can't see a way to get to a good enough sample of individuals for quant. analysis without a bias towards prosperous towers and learners on ART, short of a firm being paid to take on the task.
  • John Harrison
    184
    Without having sight of the survey reporTristan Lockheart

    The results were all published in the Ringing World in a series of about half a dozen articles by Steve Coleman called something like 'sifting through' or 'shuffling through', presumably because he kept going through the raw data to draw out different perspectives.
  • John de Overa
    238
    I can't see a way to get to a good enough sample of individuals for quant. analysis without a bias towards prosperous towers and learners on ART, short of a firm being paid to take on the task.Tristan Lockheart

    Haven't we recently announced exactly that?
  • John Harrison
    184
    afia the recent contract is for promotion, which will require some understanding of the status quo but well short of a definitive analysis.
  • John de Overa
    238
    OK, I wasn't sure what their exact remit was - thanks.
  • John Harrison
    184
    articles by Steve Coleman called something like 'sifting through' or 'shuffling through'John Harrison

    It was 'rummaging through' and they ran through 1989 into early 1990.
  • A J Barnfield
    213
    I am sure that I have seen a copy of the full 1988 survey report but I can't find it or a link to it. Can anyone provide a link to a copy?
  • John Harrison
    184
    I doubt there was a soft copy unless someone later scanned the original - theworldran on paper in those days. The easiest way is to get them from the RW DVD. Can't remember whether those years are online yet or whether you need the actual DVD.
  • Jason Carter
    55


    I doubt there was a soft copy unless someone later scanned the original - theworldran on paper in those days. The easiest way is to get them from the RW DVD. Can't remember whether those years are online yet or whether you need the actual DVD.John Harrison

    I can attach this courtesy of emails sent to me by Roger Booth. It is a long read, and the raw data I doubt is available in a readily available format. I will email Steve Coleman and ask. But I suspect we need to recreate it, in a more modern age...

    Responding to an earlier comment from A J Barnfield, I am working on a list of questions that I will share in this forum shortly (30ish questions so far), but I am going to share it with Tristan Lockheart first.
    Attachments
    1988 survey of ringing Pt 1 (4M)
    1988 survey of ringing Pt 2 (3M)
  • John de Overa
    238
    But I suspect we need to recreate it, in a more modern age...Jason Carter

    I've had a very quick poke at the PDF docs - they convert quite nicely to text with the layout of the tables mostly intact and only a moderate amount of cleanup required. With that done it should then be possible to cut+paste the tables into a spreadsheet. If that would be helpful, let me know and I'll do a more thorough job.
  • Jason Carter
    55
    if you don't mind doing that John, it would be useful to have. I don't want to miss a question out that we later regret not having an answer to.
  • Rebecca Banner
    7
    I haven't been keeping up with the nitty gritty of this thread, so my apologies if I am reiterating something that has already been said.
    I have recently discovered through my own work with my local guild that if you use Google Forms as a way of eliciting information, the responses received can be automatically added to a google sheets spreadsheet - and once it is set up it is live and any future responses get automatically added also.
    It is an easy matter to send a link to the Form to mass recipients on an emailing list - many Guilds/Associations have them. I do appreciate tha this will not necessarily reach the traditionally unreachable, but maybe it would be a start.
  • Lucy Chandhial
    9
    We did two simple surveys in the Middlesex Association, one when first starting ringing again from lockdown and the second around six months later, to see how many more towers had got back to regular ringing.
    We asked tower contacts and the district secretaries followed up with contacts who did not reply initially. It gave us a good understanding of how often towers were ringing, what proportion of the band were back to regular ringing and whether the tower was willing / able to actively recruit and teach when that was possible again.
    Even for the ‘off grid’ towers there is usually someone who has some contact and can give an idea of the size of the band, ringing standards and frequency of ringing.
    I’d be happy to be a guinea pig for a survey with the Middlesex Association N&E district if that helps (despite being fairly small and urban so not the most challenging area).
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to your Ringing Forums!

If you would like to join in the conversation, please register for an account.

You will only be able to post and/or comment once you have confirmed your email address and been approved by an Admin.