Listening Post Collective MENU
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Survey and Document

Once you’ve got a basic understanding of the community landscape, it’s time to get a more formal understanding of how local information flows. Craft an information needs survey (PDF ↓) to explore how people access and share information, which local sources they trust, and which issues they feel most passionate about. The results of the assessment will serve as a blueprint for your engagement work.


  • Download our information needs survey template (PDF ↓) .
  • Localize your survey. Not all questions are appropriate in all communities. Edit and insert questions that will resonate in your area.
  • Collect contact information! The information needs survey is the first exercise in trust and community building for your project. Make sure you collect names, emails and cell-phone numbers if people are open to that. This enables you to get back in touch with your growing network.
  • Reconnect with community leaders and organizations you visited on your walk. Ask them to help you develop and distribute the survey and offer to share the results as part of that partnership. Ask them to connect you to community events or meetings where you can distribute the survey.
  • Revisit locations from your walk where people were hanging out and connecting (eg. corner stores, barber shops, coffee shops, health centers). Be prepared to engage people in conversation and fill out the survey for them while they are talking; that’s often the easiest, and fastest way to get the work done.
  • Create a team to help you collect surveys. Local organizations interested in your work may help distribute and collect surveys. Check with local high schools or universities to see if there are groups interested in helping.
  • Host a meetup and invite local media, civil society leaders and interested citizens. Workshop your survey questions. This is a good way to inform your project and build a community of future partners, collaborators and participants.
  • Leave your comfort zone and find residents who are not part of your known audience. Make sure your results are representative of the entire community.
  • Translate your survey into multiple languages if you need to. Create an online version of the survey as well (SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Google Surveys). Circulate it on social media and via like-minded local organization websites.

Online Survey Resources

Survey Monkey

Google Forms

Google Surveys


Mapping your community’s information ecosystem

In Action



After an initial walk, and a series of conversations with local leaders in Baltimore’s Barclay neighborhood, 
a team of local journalists and journalism students interested in creating a Listening Post project began to draft a basic information needs assessment. Questions centered on identifying spaces in the community where people traditionally share news and information, what kinds of topics are most on the minds of community members, and the extent of people’s access to technology (i.e. smart phones, computers, regular cell phones, etc.).

After the survey was finalized, copies were made, and a small team of five community members were hired to help get the survey into Barclay residents’ hands. They took the survey home to their families, brought them to work, passed them around at church and were able to get a wide range of responses from more than 80 participants, a good sample size considering only 3,000 people live in the Barclay neighborhood.

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