Knowledge surveys – Questions to be asked within organisations

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Maarten Boers


  • Maarten Boers
  • Allison Hewlett

Key points

Surveys about the state of the art of available knowledge within an organisation can be useful for several reasons e.g. to create a baseline for monitoring (progress on) KS, to asses what external knowledge / information is (still) needed, to design a KS-programme and activities. However, experience shows that people are disinclined to participate in such surveys, because of time restrictions and/or reluctance to "advertise" their (lack of) knowledge / information.

Ways of gathering such information can be:

  • (on-line) survey's – response very low (10 to 15% ?)
  • informal chats by surveyor - time consuming
  • (inspiring) workshops on KS in an explicit way – need of getting people together
  • ……
  • ……
  • Just accepting that it is impossible to get a complete survey done! ;-)

Useful tool

A simple tool, developed by Bruce Britton, who then was with INTRAC (and used in Helvetas and ILO) can be found at the Helvetas Homepage in the section "The learning organisation".

It is a package with all the background information, the questionnaire (including an excel version which gives some direct analysis of the individual respondent - but not from the aggregated group – this must be done manually). Thanks to Marc Steinlin!