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AFI 36-2601 Air Force Personnel Survey Program

1. Scope of the Program.

HQ AFPC/DPSAS controls and approves all surveys, attitude and opinion polls, question-naires, and telephone interviews, except:
1.1. Occupational surveys which are assigned an Air Force Personnel Test number and controlled according to AFI 36-2623, Occupational Analysis.

1.2. Internal reporting requirements, including statistical, summary, or status information which must be licensed and approved with a Reports Control Symbol (RCS) number in accordance with AFI 37-124, Management and Control of Information Reports Requirements.

1.3. Surveys of course graduates, administered on-site, if the sole purpose is to ask about the course. Surveys administered after completion of course, and mailed to graduates or their supervisors, are subject to requirements outlined in paragraph 2.

1.4. Official audit surveys conducted by the Air Force Audit Agency.

1.5. Surveys requiring Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval (see paragraph 3.7.4).

1.6. Single-base surveys initiated by the installation or unit commander only on issues under his or her control (see paragraph 3.8).

2. Survey Request Procedures. 

To request survey approval, send the following information to HQ AFPC/DPSAS, 550 C Street West, Ste 35, Randolph AFB TX 78150-4737:

2.1. State the purpose and justification for the proposed research. (Include name of Air Force "sponsor" and how agency will benefit from the survey findings.)

2.2. Indicate how you will use the survey results.

2.3. Provide a point of contact, with telephone number.

2.4. Identify which population is of interest (pilots, engineers, and so on), how large the proposed sample size is, and how the sample will be selected.

2.5. Tell how you expect to collect the data, such as computer-administered survey, mail-out survey, personal interview, telephone interview, and so forth.

2.6. Provide a copy of the proposed data collection instrument (survey, interview guide, questionnaire, and so on).

2.7. Specify when and how often people will be surveyed.

3. Responsibilities:

3.1. All Personnel.  Maintain strict confidentiality concerning the identity of individual survey respondents. Do not communicate, either verbally or in writing, information which could reasonably allow identification of individual survey respondents to any individual or agency, either within or outside the Air Force. Do not take any adverse or administrative action against an individual as a result of his or her responses to an official Air Force survey.

3.2. Headquarters United States Air Force/Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel; Directorate of Military Personnel Policy (HQ USAF/DPX). Develops plans and policies for all Air Force Survey Programs within the scope of this instruction.


3.3.1. Develops and implements procedures for survey operations including Department of Defense (DoD) surveys conducted within the Air Force under DoDI 1100.13.

3.3.2. Approves, evaluates, coordinates, develops, conducts, and analyzes attitude and opinion surveys.

3.3.3. Obtains coordination from AFPC/DPKO before approving any survey that includes civilians.

3.3.4. Advises Air Force organizations on surveys.

3.3.5. Coordinates computer processing of survey data from Air Force-wide surveys as requested by HQ USAF or the DoD.

3.3.6. Represents the Air Force on the Inter-Service Survey Coordinating Committee.

3.3.7. Develops standardized instruments for use by Air Force organizations (e.g., Organizational Climate Survey).

3.3.8. Ensures survey requesters are aware that all survey data collected are releasable to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (see
paragraph 5.1.1).

3.4. Mission Support Squadron Commander (MSSQ/ CC) ensures the Military Personnel Flight (MPF) and the Civilian Personnel Flight (CPF) comply with this instruction.

3.5. MPF Chief appoints a survey control officer (SCO) to conduct or monitor attitude and opinion surveys and advises HQ AFPC/DPSAS, 550 C Street West, Ste 35, Randolph AFB TX 78150-4737 of the name, mailing address, and DSN. The SCO can be either a commissioned officer, a noncommissioned officer, or a civilian employee, GS-4 or higher, assigned to the Career Enhancement Element of the Customer Support Section.

3.6. Survey Control Officers (SCO):

3.6.1. Conduct or monitor HQ USAF and DoD surveys.

3.6.2. Process requests to conduct AFPC/DPSAS approved surveys as detailed in paragraph 2.

3.6.3. Process unauthorized surveys as explained in paragraph 4.

3.7. Requesting Agencies/Individuals:

3.7.1. Discuss survey plans with HQ AFPC/DPSAS by telephone before developing a survey.

3.7.2. Follow Survey Development Guidelines at attachment 1 when developing a survey.

3.7.3. Before releasing an approved survey to be administered to civilian employees notify, as appropriate, the Civilian Personnel Officer at each participating CPF for labor union notification.

3.7.4. In accordance with AFI 37-124, forward any proposed survey requiring OMB approval to the Office of the Administrative Assistant for the Secretary of the Air Force, Information Management Policy Division (SAF/ AAIA), 1610 Air Force Pentagon, Washington DC 20330-1610, before administering them. The OMB must approve: Federal government surveys of retirees' dependents. Federal government surveys of government contractors and members of the general public. Federal government surveys of retirees, and spouses and dependents of active duty personnel, that do not evaluate the effectiveness of existing, or the need for new, federal programs for military families.

3.8. Installation and Unit Commanders. Commanders do not need approval from HQ AFPC/DPSAS to conduct or release local surveys conducted only on a single base and covering only aspects of base activities that the commander has the authority to change. If the surveyed group includes Air Force civilians, the commander must coordinate with the Civilian Personnel Officer. If the survey includes questions beyond the scope of the commander's authority, such as satisfaction with pay or benefits, forward the survey to HQ AFPC/ DPSAS for approval. Commanders will not permit any private individual or organization to conduct a poll, survey, or interview within their commands without specific authorization from HQ AFPC/DPSAS. If there is any question concerning the appropriateness of a survey, commanders should consult with the installation public affairs officer or HQ AFPC/DPSAS.

3.9. Survey Respondents. Respondents should answer surveys accurately and honestly to provide the best possible data for analysis. However, no classified information may be included in any answer to a personnel survey. Survey participation is voluntary and personnel should be encouraged, but not directed, to complete surveys.

4. Unauthorized Surveys.

An unauthorized survey is a non-local survey that has been sent to an official Air Force address without the appropriate approval detailed in this instruction. All approved, non-local surveys show a current USAF survey control number (SCN), a reports control symbol (RCS), or an OMB number.

4.1. Personnel receiving an unauthorized survey will notify their MPF SCO or civilian personnel officer. MPF SCOs or civilian personnel officers should "hold" unauthorized surveys and call HQ AFPC/DPSAS to request further instructions.

4.2. Personnel receiving a survey at an address other than their Air Force duty address are neither encouraged nor discouraged from participating in the survey.

5. Releasing Survey Findings:

5.1 Public Release. Commanders who conducted or requested the survey may release surveys and survey results to the public or media by forwarding them through the unit Public Affairs (PA) office. However, commanders are not required to release surveys or survey results unless requested under the Freedom of Information Act. (See AFI 35-206, Air Force Media Relations .)
5.1.1. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests. Follow AFI 37-131,Freedom of Information Act Program, when a FOIA request for personnel survey results is received. Surveys and survey results may not be withheld under any category of FOIA exemption. AFPC may release survey results to the public for any surveys they conduct without obtaining survey requester approval.

5.2. Air Force-Internal Release. To increase the value of survey findings to the Air Force, AFPC may release findings from all AFPC-conducted surveys without original survey requester approval. Commanders are encouraged to share findings from their surveys with other Air Force offices.

6. Forms Prescribed.

AF Form 1200, Air Force Sample Survey Answer Sheet (green), and AF Form 1239, Air Force Sample Survey Answer Sheet (blue). Order these forms through the Publishing Distribution Office (PDO). EUGENE E. HABIGER, Lt General, USAF DCS/Personnel

Attachment 1 Survey Development Guidelines

A1.1. Public Releasability of Survey Findings:
A1.1.1. Do not ask any survey question not intended for public release.

A2.1. Impact of Public Release of Surveys:
A2.1.1. When developing a survey, treat each survey question as though its results will be released to the public. Consider the potential impact of public release on the following groups: Active duty personnel and their families. Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members. Civilian employees. Service academy members. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets and auxiliary. Retired military personnel and their families. Community organizations (including civic, trade, industrial, veterans, youth, ethnic, women, religious, environ-mental, and educational groups). The Congress. Local, state, and Federal Government officials. Professional organizations. Civic leaders.

A3.1. Survey Utility:

A3.1.1. Surveys must contribute significantly to the study of relevant Air Force policy or program issues.

A3.1.2. Do not conduct a survey merely to gather information, serve as a springboard for future research, or meet Require-ments for award of an academic degree, etc.

A3.1.3. Do not conduct a survey unless the expected benefits to the Air Force of conducting the survey clearly outweigh the potential costs (e.g., negative publicity, damage to morale or readiness, time burden on respondents) associated with conducting the survey.

A4.1. Inappropriate Survey Topics:

A4.1.1. The following surveys must not be conducted: Surveys that might prove harmful to mission accomplishment if the results are disclosed to the public. Surveys covering areas of possible intelligence value.

A5.1. Potentially Inappropriate Survey Topics:

A5.1.1. Surveys will not normally be conducted on the following topics: Political views. Personality assessments of Air Force personnel. Knowledge or skill assessments of Air Force personnel. Opinions about specific individuals or their job performance. Any topic with responses categorized by ethnic group and/or sex.

A6.1. Respondent Anonymity:

A6.1.1. Only use administrative procedures which guarantee respondent anonymity.

A7.1. Survey Sampling:

A7.1.1. Surveys which include all members of a target population should not normally be used since sampling techniques provide valid and reliable information at greatly reduced costs and time burdens on Air Force personnel.

A7.1.2. Select an appropriate sample to ensure survey results represent the attitudes and opinions of the target population.

A7.1.3. Sample the minimum number of respondents necessary to reasonably achieve a satisfactory confidence interval. AFPC/DPSAS can provide assistance in this area.

A8.1. Questionnaire Package, Format, and Structure:

A8.1.1. The cover letter or instructions should contain a statement that the survey is anonymous and that individual responses will be kept confidential, but summarized responses may be released to the public.

A8.1.2. If copyrighted scales, subscales, or questions are used, the requester must have permission from the authors (if required) to use the scales and cite the authors in any subsequent report or summary.

A8.1.3. Each topic area should be covered adequately.

A8.1.4. Questions should be in a logical sequence.

A8.1.5. If an optical scan answer sheet is to be used, the responses to the questionnaire must be able to fit on such a sheet. (The survey developer should obtain scanning support before the survey request is submitted.)

A8.1.6. The questionnaire should present a neat, professional appearance.

A9.1. Survey Questions:

A9.1.1. Questions must not be of a sensitive nature, objectionable, or in bad taste. Other types of questions that must not be asked are: Misleading questions "Loaded" or "entrapping" questions Questions which require an unreasonable amount of effort on the part of the respondent.

A9.1.2. Questions should be grammatically correct and easily understood by the respondents.

A10.1. Response Scales:

A10.1.1. Response scales should be balanced; (i.e., when positive and negative responses are called for, there should be equal numbers of responses on both sides of the neutral point, whether the neutral point is explicit or implied).

A10.1.2. Response scales should be complete, covering the full range of possible answers. An "I don't know", "None of the above," "N/A," or "Neither/Nor" response may be necessary.

A10.1.3. Responses should be mutually exclusive and, when covering a continuous variable such as time, weight, etc., should be exhaustive as well.

A10.1.4. If responses are scaled, anchor words should be used and imply a gradual increase or decrease in the factor of interest.

A10.1.5. Response options should be sensitive enough to provide usable data.