Tagged / surveys

BOS Survey Tool unavailable 3-4 October 2017

There are changes to the service delivering the Bristol Online Survey (BOS) Tool as the service is transferring from Bristol University to Jisc.  The transfer of the BOS service from the University of Bristol to Jisc is scheduled to take place during the week commencing October 2, 2017.

To enable the transfer of its database, BOS will be offline from the morning of Tuesday October 3, for a period of up to 48 hours. During this time users will not be able to access BOS and all surveys will be offline.

From Thursday October 5, the service will be supported by Jisc.

Please note that the support email address and telephone number will change after the transfer. These will be advertised on the BOS website.

Users will be able to log in with the same usernames and passwords after the transfer, and should not notice any significant changes. All surveys and survey data will be transferred, and any surveys that were open prior to the transfer will be accessible to participants as soon as the service is restored.

A notification will be placed on all user Dashboards two weeks prior to the transfer to inform them of the upcoming downtime and transfer to Jisc, but please also make every effort to notify your account’s users.

If you have any questions please contact the support team at bos-migration-support@bristol.ac.uk or call on 0117 394 1783.

Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) are transferring to Jisc

Bristol Online Surveys (BOS)

BOS is currently managed by the University of Bristol and provided as a service to the UK HE community.  On 1 August 2017, ownership will be transferred to Jisc.  Following transfer to Jisc it is expected that the ‘look and feel’ of BOS should remain the same.

BOS account access is set up by IT Services who are account administrators.  Researchers wishing to use a BOS survey should put a request through the IT Service Desk (SNOW).

It is important to note that on  1 August 2017, BOS will be unavailable for around 48 hours.  We do not know the exact time period at the moment.  More information is available on the BOS site:


Transfer to Jisc: FAQs
Transfer to Jisc: FAQs for Primary Contacts

Experience counts: increasing research response rates

I’ve recently been doing some work to identify what can be done to improve response rates in both qualitative and quantitative research. Although this work was conducted as part of a HEIF4 project and in the financial services sector, the findings are of relevance to anyone conducting research with individuals.  Of particular interest to me were those respondents who were not initially apathetic to research and had in the past taken part in surveys and interviews, but who had developed a reluctance to participate over time. What had caused this reluctance and how could response rates be improved? 

Digging into the literature, two pieces of work caused me to stop and think about the whole research context.  The first was the work of Pickery, Loosveldt and Carton (2001) who found that the interviewer in the first wave of research was more important than the interviewer in the second wave in terms of the impact on subsequent response rates. If the experience with the first researcher was positive then the respondent was more likely to engage again and vice versa. If we link this finding to the more recent work of Clark (2010) it seems that respondents engage in (qualitative) research for many and various reasons and not just to contribute to knowledge or for altruistic reasons. Some actually enjoy the experience; they enjoy the social comparison and the therapeutic aspect of talking about themselves and their experiences. Participation for these respondents is more about the experience and the value they as individuals gain from the interaction.

In the financial services sector there is always the grim warning that “past performance is no guarantee of future performance”. Of course, there are also no guarantees in research; however in this case there does seem to be evidence to suggest that past performance in terms of the research experience is a good indicator of future performance in response rates. The question now is how do we make the research experience more positive, stimulating and enjoyable from the respondent’s perspective? 


Pickery, J., Loosveldt, G., and Carton, A (2001) The effects of interviewer and respondent characteristics on response behavior in panel surveys: a Mulit-level approach. Sociological methods and research. 29:509-523

Clark, T. (2010) On ‘being researched’: why do people engage with qualitative research? Qualitative Research. 10: 399-419