I've run a number of online surveys for family history groups, using the facilities at Survey Monkey, which have focused on issues such as membership retention, membership satisfaction, course feedback, and forward planning.

I have a particular methodology for developing surveys which asks the survey sponsor to hypothesise in detail about what the report that they wish to produce at the end of the survey will actually say, and then work backwards to define the question areas that need to be addressed and the specific questions to be asked. This ensures that there is a purpose behind every question in the survey and makes for tighter, more useful conclusions.

Surveys in the family history area that I've run include:

* November 2010: opinion survey to recently lapsed members of the Guild of One-Name Studies

* October 2010: membership retention survey for the Guild to 508 individuals (55% response rate)

* May 2010: publicised via the Guild's online forum, seeking opinions whether to set up an online journal

* March 2009: survey of ISOGG members in England and Wales, asking for opinions how to develop our activities

* March 2007: to members of the Pomeroy Family Association, about preferences for the next international reunion (>50% response rate)

* February 2007: targeted 67 Guild members with DNA projects for data and opinions about our future focus — 61 responded.