1. Knowledge Base
  2. Building Great Questions

Toolkits in the Polco Library

Where to find and how to use toolkits in the Polco Library.

Reaching out to your community can be intimidating. Have you ever worried that you weren’t asking questions in the right way? If questions are biased, leading, or unclear your results may be skewed or hard to interpret. We understand this struggle! To help simplify question development, Polco’s research team (National Research Center) called on their 25 years of experience to create the Polco Library. We have built a collection of expert-written short surveys on common topics we’ve encountered in our extensive work with local governments.

In addition, we have now introduced toolkits to the Polco Library. Toolkits are a curated group of short surveys that cover the input needs of specific entities or research areas (for example, school districts or COVID-19 impacts). For each toolkit, Polco researchers have developed a series of short surveys (modules) that cover common questions on specific aspects of the larger topic.

Jurisdictions can choose to post the entire series of survey modules or select a few key ones to home in on a subtopic, depending on interests and engagement goals. Several modules can be copy and pasted into one longer survey, they could be posted individually as a monthly series, or you could post several modules on your profile at the same time (they would be seen as separate surveys). Note that some of the question modules are best for residents while others are intended for specific stakeholder groups (e.g. service users, parents, business owners. etc.).

Additionally, each question can be customized (edited) to best suit your community needs.

How is this different from other surveys in the Polco Library?

The Polco library is full of short and long surveys that cover a wide variety of research interests for public entities (e.g., economic development, recreation facilities, and equity and inclusion), for example). The toolkit structure provides a more systematic/deeper dive into a broader area of interest, providing a group of surveys that taken together give comprehensive coverage.

What Toolkits are available?

We currently have two toolkits in the library, and will add more regularly. 

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Toolkit can be used to assess the impacts of COVID on your community to help plan for recovery. The subtopics covered in this toolkit include:

  • Knowledge and information sources
  • COVID-19 Exposure and Behaviors
  • Health Care
  • Mental Health 
  • Economic Impacts
  • Food Security
  • Housing Security
  • Employment impacts/Job security
  • Education
  • Telecommunications
  • Community Engagement (shutting down and reopening questions) 
  • Household Spending

The Library Services Toolkit survey modules help assess the quality of services, identify unmet community needs and plan for the future. This toolkit includes short surveys directed to library patrons and general residents. The topics covered in this toolkit include:

  • Overall quality of library services 
  • Library use
  • Quality of library collections 
  • Patron use preferences 
  • Quality of library facilities 
  • Customer service
  • Information sources used by residents 
  • Community priorities for libraries

There are two ways to explore the content we are offering. 
  1. Browse the library - go to polco.us/n/admin/library and scroll through the library content. 
  2. Search the library - Use the “Text search” function on the right side of the page. For a toolkit, you can search on “Library Toolkit” to see all its modules or you could search on a topic like “library” or “COVID.”  Searches will look for words in the title and content of the survey and also for key work tags. 

After finding a survey you want to use, follow these easy steps:

  1. Click on the survey
  2. Scroll to the bottom and select “Save to Drafts” to send the selected survey to your profile.
  3. Go to your profile and open the survey.
  4. If desired, edit the survey by deleting, adding, or modifying questions to best reflect your community and your information needs.
  5. If you would like to combine two, or more, modules to make one survey you will need to copy the questions from one module and paste them into the other.
  6. Publish your survey! (click the button at the bottom of the survey)
  7. Share the URL link provided with your community through social media, your website, emails, newsletters and all appropriate communication channels! (Start the video at 2:34 on this page for further details on inviting people to participate).