Survey to Assess Info Needs, Sources of Military News
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Apr. 13, 2000 Some 36,400 service members and their spouses and DoD civilians will receive surveys to assess their information needs and how they access news about the department.
The American Forces Information Service and the Defense Manpower Data Center are sponsoring the survey.
"This survey actually has a couple of purposes," said Army Col. Mitch Marovitz, AFIS director of media operations. "One purpose is to see if we are meeting the information needs of service members and their spouses. The other is to see how military families get their information."
AFIS provides news through www.defenselink.mil, the American Forces Press Service, the American Forces Radio and Television Service and the Current News Early Bird. In addition, it provides images via the Joint Combat Camera Center and the Defense Visual Information Center.
"We're very interested in how many people use the Internet to get information," Marovitz said. "And of those that do, what type of browsers they use, what type of modem, how they access the Internet and where. If we have answers to these questions, we can make the products available over the most appropriate media and they will be easier to access and use."
Jacquelyn Scarville, a statistician with the manpower center, developed the 20-page survey, in conjunction with AFIS. In a written statement, she said 18,000 active duty service members, 12,000 spouses, 1,900 reserve component service members and 3,300 civilian employees will be surveyed.
The survey was scheduled to be released March 13, but was delayed as officials worked out kinks in a new process for answering the survey. "This is the first survey of service members, spouses and civilian DoD employees that the Defense Manpower Data Center has conducted via the Internet," Scarville wrote. "An important purpose of the survey is to assess in the groups to be studied access to personal computers, types of computer hardware, patterns of use and access to the Internet/World Wide Web."
She said most of those surveyed will be able to choose how to respond: via the Net or on paper. Some 60 percent of those chosen for the survey will receive a paper survey with the option of responding on the Net. Twenty percent will receive the paper survey with no option, and 20 percent will receive notification to answer the survey on the Net with an option of taking the paper survey, according to Scarville.
The center hopes to learn what proportion of the DoD community has personal computers and has access to the Web. DoD officials hope future surveys can be accomplished at least partially using the Internet, Scarville said.
The two organizations will split the $200,000 survey costs.
"What's really exciting is establishing this baseline of information," Marovitz said. "Then, when we conduct this survey again, we can gauge differences in information needs and sources of information.
"This survey will help DoD reach our internal audience."