It seems as though we are always being asked to participate in a survey. Amazon wants to know how your online shopping experience was. Your cable provider is looking to see that their customer service representative was polite and helpful, and they want you to tell them all about it.
Military families often find themselves being asked to answer surveys. We get official ones from the Department of Defense, like the Millennium Cohort Study, which collects data to evaluate the health of service personnel throughout their military careers. Families also may participate in customer satisfaction surveys to determine if you were happy with Moral, Welfare and Recreation Programs, Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or services provided by your family support center.
Organizations like the National Military Family Association send out surveys to determine what we should advocate for, or how we should shape our programs to better serve military families.
We have used surveys effectively throughout the war to help us determine what type of support military families need, and how to craft the curriculum for our Operation Purple camps.
We often publicize surveys that focus on military family issues to help entities like universities, or other large organizations, provide services or programs for the military community. One such survey was a Military Spouse Employment Survey conducted by the Military Officers Association of America and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.
This anonymous survey provided a platform for military spouses to share their challenges of employment while on active duty to better understand military spouse unemployment and underemployment.
Sometimes the experiences of military families provide a small piece of the puzzle which adds insight into an issue that affects families outside the military as well.
We’ve been asked by a team of researchers at The George Washington University to promote an online study they are conducting called the Military Family Communication Project. Their goal is to identify ways in which couples, parents, and children can communicate to help them maintain close relationships and good adjustment during separations.
We are trying to reach at-home parents, step-parents, or child caregivers in families with at least one child age 18 or under, and a parent who is currently deployed or away on assignment.
If your family is interested in helping with this study, the at-home parent/child caregiver should email GWU.Military.Families@gmail.com. You will receive an email with more about the study and a link to the survey.
This study can help GWU identify best practices and tips for communicating which all families experiencing long separations could find useful.
We like to say that military families know they are part of something bigger than themselves. Participating in surveys can help shape programs and services not only for military families, but for families all over the country.
Pencils ready? Begin.