Primary research questionnaire

The questionnaire utilised for my MSc study was be primarily quantitative and gathered documents that were analysed in a qualitative manner.

The questionnaire follows (with questions in italics) and is accompanied by an explanation of the premise of each question.

1a. Do you have a policy or guidelines (or document by similar name) for staff on your organisation’s permissible use of social media for business purposes / for use in connection with the work of the organisation?

1b. If yes, when was this policy (or guidelines) introduced?

1c. Please also provide an electronic copy (or link to online version) of the policy and / or guidelines.

2a. Do you provide guidelines (or document by similar name) for staff on the use of social media for personal purposes?

2b. If yes, when were these guidelines (or document by similar name) introduced?

2c. Please also provide an electronic copy (or link to online version)

It is important for my study to identify if public bodies have policies and procedures in place offering guidance to staff on professional and personal use of social media. Gathering yes / no answers to these questions provides a clear picture of how many organisations have guidelines in place.

Headline review of the content of policies supplied will assess provision and areas of good practice to inform recommendations through this study, whilst information regarding the implementation date of policies will be correlated against responses to questions 3 and 4.

  1. Since 1 January 2005 and for each calendar year to date, please detail how many staff in your organisation have been cautioned or disciplined (or similar) for their inappropriate or unsuitable use of social media either on work or personal accounts?

Please break figures down by year with headline / brief summary of reason for disciplinary action.

Here it was be possible to understand how many staff have been subject to disciplinary measures for unsuitable use of social media; in addition data supplied will inform whether a policy could have been introduced reactively.  The study will also examine if having a policy in place has impacted the prevalence of disciplinary action.

The researcher has determined that a start date of 2005 would be useful as this closely relates to the establishment of social media channels as follows:

  • Facebook launched in 2004 (Wikipedia, 2014)
  • Twitter created in 2006 (Wikipedia, 2014)
  • YouTube founded in 2005 (Wikipedia, 2014)
  • Instagram launched in 2010 (Wikipedia, 2014)
  • MySpace launched in 2003 (Wikipedia, 2014)

Although early adopters of these sites would have preceded this study, the 2005 start date enables consideration regarding how public sector organisations have responded to the impact of social media on them and the actions of their employees.

4a. Since 1 January 2005 and for each calendar year to date, has social media use by your staff, either on work or personal accounts / profiles, even been the source of media coverage?

4b. If yes, please detail names of media titles and dates of coverage.

The researcher is keen to identify the prevalence of media coverage around inappropriate use of social media by public sector staff and if the existence of a policy or guidance mitigates this.

© Gillian Neild, 2015

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