ferent employment sectors (e.g., academia or government or industry) have different views and opinions on these topics or have taken different actions.

STUDY DESIGN

To meet the research objectives, a questionnaire was developed and a cross-sectional Web survey was conducted. This section describes the development of the questionnaire, survey pretest, the target population and sample frame,1 the survey mode and design, sampling issues, and implementation of the survey.

Developing the Survey Questionnaire

NRC staff developed a preliminary draft of the questionnaire. Questions were solicited from selected members of the National Academy of Sciences and NRC staff with expertise in biosecurity, staff from the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), AAAS staff, and other experts identified by their work in this area (e.g., dual use research, regulation, codes of conduct) as well as drawn from other surveys on similar topics. Once an initial set of questions was collected, it was circulated for these experts’ further comments. The draft questionnaire was initially an attempt to “cast a wide net” by including as many questions as possible, leaving survey length, question order, the appropriate mix of opinion and fact-based questions, and precise wording for later in the questionnaire development. The initial questionnaire contained more than 60 questions that were identified as important; the final questionnaire contained 35 questions.

From November 2006 through March 2007, the project staff made an effort to tap the expertise of potential survey respondents as well as to bring together stakeholders to discuss issues related to biosecurity to further refine the questionnaire. In addition to continued discussion among staff, three focus group discussions were held involving junior and senior life scientists in the biological, agricultural, and medical disciplines from academia, government, and industry. The focus groups were designed to address the following:

  1. Who should be responsible for (and what parts of) dual use research, including the responsibilities of scientists, journal editorial boards, and the government;

1

A sample frame consists of a list from which individuals from the survey population can be selected.



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