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13 CHAPTER 2 PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN sized the ease of responding and instructed respondents on the action needed to proceed to the next page. Each subse- A draft of the longer survey to be administered to the entire quent question was presented in a format identical to the print pool of DOTs was assembled after the completion of the version of the questionnaire. Special response or skip instruc- phone interviews. After independent review by members of tions were part of the relevant questions. A progress bar on the research team, each question and its multiple choice the screen showed participants how close they were to com- answers were critiqued by the group as a whole. After sev- pleting the questionnaire. eral review sessions, a draft of approximately 60 questions was completed and ready for pretest. SURVEY ADMINISTRATION QUESTIONNAIRE PRETEST In September 2002, the research team distributed a letter to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the 50 state DOTs In June of 2002, the research team conducted a questionnaire plus the District of Columbia DOT and Puerto Rico DOT, pretest with the Louisiana and Texas DOTs. During the pretest, describing the GASB 34 survey, and asking each CEO to the research team evaluated the questions to assess the respon- designate a contact individual for this project. The DOTs' dents' comprehension, points of confusion or ambiguity, reac- responses to this request guided subsequent interactions with tions to questions, time to recover information from memory, the individual departments. response formation, and other variables that would affect the In October 2002, the research team submitted the revised quality of responses and overall success of the survey. draft survey instrument to NCHRP Panel 19-04 for review. Based on the pretest, the following questions were added The research team subsequently received comments from the to the survey: panel and, in November 2002, provided an adapted survey that addressed the reviewers' concerns. Most of the panel's comments involved changes in wording and phrasing that · Number 11(b), Valuation of Transferred Assets, made questions and multiple choice answers more concise. · Number 12(b), Hours of Staff Time Required to Imple- Approximately 15 answer choices were added to various ques- ment GASB 34, and tions, two questions found redundant were removed from the · Number 52, Overall Usefulness of GASB 34 Reporting. survey, and six questions were added to the survey. The six new questions focused on the following topics: After pretest amendments were made, the presentation strat- egy of the survey was completed. The questionnaire was · The use of condition assessment information by states designed as a self-administered instrument. Two questionnaire using depreciation, versions were developed: the first version was a web-based · The states' view of the overall usefulness of information version; the second was a print version for mailing. To mini- generated by the reporting requirements of GASB 34, mize response differences that might result from these two · The ability of the states' accounting system to identify methods of administration, the questions in the web and mail costs at the asset class level desired, and versions were the same. For the web-based instrument, inter- · How useful lives of infrastructure assets were determined. active elements were added to enhance the ease of completion. After reviewing the updated version, NCHRP authorized the survey to be administered to the DOTs. WEB-SURVEY PROGRAMMING The survey was administered to the 52 DOTs in early December 2002. The printed surveys were mailed to the con- Survey programmers customized a web instrument that tacts identified by the CEOs with cover letters explaining was simple and easy to complete. The web questionnaire was who the research team represented and the goal of the survey. introduced with a welcome screen and a message that empha- Additionally the letter explained how the respondent could
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14 respond to the survey privately via the internet and advised New York's situation was that its fiscal year ends March each that a copy of the DOT's fiscal year 2002 financial state- 31st. The initial phase of the GASB 34 reporting require- ments would be requested after the survey was completed. ments was effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, The research team was able to monitor the progress of 2001. Hence, the effective date for New York lags the other those DOTs that were completing the survey on line. A first states by 6 to 9 months. Unlike the other DOTs, New York round of follow-up calls was made to the DOTs that had not had not yet completed its first set of financial statements started the survey. A second round of calls was made in mid- under GASB 34 guidelines at the time of the survey and thus January. The research team allowed DOTs approximately 10 found it difficult to respond to many of the survey questions. weeks to complete the survey. Because a 100% response rate In addition, relatively late in the process the New York DOT was the team's goal, frequent calls were made in February to decided to switch from the depreciation approach to the mod- DOTs that had not yet completed their surveys. Finally, the ified approach, further complicating efforts to complete the team adopted a final deadline date of February 21, 2003. At survey in a timely manner. that point only two DOTs, New York and Rhode Island, had Detailed findings are presented in Appendix D to this not completed the survey. report, which is available in NCHRP Web Document 63.