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HOW ARMY

RESEARCH INSTITUTE
SURVEYS SUPPORT
ARMY TRANSFORMATION
Dr. Alma G. Steinberg, Dr. Morris P. Peterson,
and Sidney F. Fisher

Introduction Army with a highly cost-efficient ther. For example, the Army will be
The transformation of the Army means of assessing issues that able to conduct shorter surveys
to the Objective Force, and the per- impact soldiers and their because surveys can be designed to
sonnel transformation that supports dependents. automatically direct individuals past
it, will involve changes in the way topics that are not relevant to them.
the Army handles areas such as Using New Technologies In addition, the use of automated
recruitment, retention, job assign- The personnel portion of the surveys will eliminate scanning of
ments, training, performance, and Army’s transformation puts strong survey response sheets and will facil-
readiness. To fine-tune the evolving emphasis on streamlining and using itate faster data analyses.
process, determine how soldiers are the Web for personnel business
adapting to the changing environ- processes. In line with this empha- Using Survey Results
ment, and ensure success, the Army sis, ARI has developed tools for con- In the past, Army sponsors or
needs a continuous feedback loop ducting automated surveys using proponents, special panels, commit-
between the field and Army deci- PCs, the Internet, and a Web site tees, working groups, and senior
sionmakers. Attitude and opinion maintained by Army Knowledge Army leaders used survey findings
surveys conducted by the Army Online (AKO). As soon as soldiers for a variety of purposes. The follow-
Research Institute (ARI) for the gain full access to the Internet and ing are some examples:
Behavioral and Social Sciences are use AKO regularly, the Army will be
a critical tool in providing this able to increase use of the Internet • Supporting requests for
feedback. to conduct surveys. Significant improving retirement benefits,
This article addresses the advan- economies can be realized in terms • Determining policy changes
tages of using surveys, how surveys of both time and money for distribu- needed to reduce the number of
use emerging technologies, and how tion, administration, and return of command declinations,
survey results are applied. surveys, as well as for analysis and • Justifying required housing
reporting of results. square footage,
Survey Advantages Automated surveys will also • Determining the need for dis-
Attitude and opinion surveys can decrease the burden on individual semination of information (e.g., for
provide valuable information be- respondents. Currently, ARI uses the clarification of personnel policies),
cause survey data meet important Sample Survey of Military Personnel, and
criteria. Surveys can be designed to an omnibus survey, to consolidate • Determining reasons for join-
provide data that are quantifiable, topics identified by proponent agen- ing or leaving the Army.
valid, reliable, objective, compara- cies and activities in the Army into
ble, replicable, capable of being gen- one survey, thus reducing survey In the future, with respect to the
eralized, and capable of indicating proliferation. Automating surveys Army transformation, survey results
trends. As such, surveys provide the will reduce the footprint even fur- will be used for the following:

July-August 2002 Army AL&T 19


WHAT ARI SURVEYS PROVIDE
• Cost-effective, scientifically sound, timely information;
• A “finger on the pulse” of soldiers;
• Data to assess programs and policies;
• Trend data;
• Data to identify emerging issues;
• Data to monitor impact of unexpected events; and
• A means to determine validity of anecdotal information
or opinions.

• Monitoring current attitudes “tell it like it is” to the chain of com-


DR. ALMA G. STEINBERG is
and perceptions of soldiers and their mand—all the way to the top.
Chief, Army Trends Analysis Group,
families,
U.S. Army Research Institute for the
• Tracking soldier perceptions of
Behavioral and Social Sciences. She
and reactions to transformation
holds a B.A. in psychology from
actions and policies,
Survey areas Brooklyn College and an M.A. and
• Identifying problem areas, and
Ph.D. in psychology from American
• Providing input for solutions. that ARI University.
will monitor DR. MORRIS P. PETERSON is
Survey areas that ARI will moni-
Chief, Army Personnel Survey
tor relating to the transformation and relating to Office, U.S. Army Research Institute
its impact include morale, motiva-
the transformation for the Behavioral and Social Sci-
tion, training needs, career goals,
ences. He has a B.S. in journalism
satisfaction with job assignments, and its impact from Marquette University and a
and assessments of well-being and
include morale, B.S. in both history and education
readiness.
and an M.A. in English from
Conclusion
motivation, Mankato State University. He
training needs, received his doctoral degree from
ARI surveys can help ensure the
Southern Illinois University at Car-
success of the Army’s transformation career goals, bondale, where he specialized in
by providing timely information that
satisfaction with communications research.
Army leaders need to make informed
SIDNEY F. FISHER is a Consor-
decisions. As the transformation job assignments, tium Fellow, U.S. Army Research
progresses, surveys will take advan-
and assessments Institute for the Behavioral and
tage of Web technology. This will
Social Sciences. She holds a B.A. in
result in surveys that are less time- of well-being English and an M.A. in psychology
consuming, more efficient, and eas-
and readiness. from George Mason University,
ier for respondents to use. And, they
where she is currently working
will give soldiers the opportunity to
toward her doctorate.

20 Army AL&T July-August 2002