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EDITORIAL
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2
 

Surveys in urology


Editor, Indian Journal of Urology, Department of Urology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication1-Jan-2022

Correspondence Address:
Rajeev Kumar
Editor, Indian Journal of Urology, Department of Urology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/iju.iju_455_21

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How to cite this article:
Kumar R. Surveys in urology. Indian J Urol 2022;38:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Kumar R. Surveys in urology. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jan 24];38:1-2. Available from: https://www.indianjurol.com/text.asp?2022/38/1/1/334609


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a windfall of manuscripts for most journals worldwide, with the Indian Journal of Urology receiving 50% more submissions in 2020 than it did on an average in previous years.[1],[2] For the urology community, one of the reasons is the availability of free time, enforced by the lockdowns in hospitals where elective surgery was put on hold. Existing data have been scrutinized and written up, retrospective data have been extracted and compiled, and interestingly, a number of surveys have been conducted primarily among urology colleagues.

Between 2020 and 2021, the IJU received as many surveys as it had done in the previous 10 years. The topics and number of participants varied, as did the quality. A general perception was that surveys are easy to perform and could be translated into a publication. Free time probably meant greater ability to construct and conduct a survey. Many of these solicited responses on closed social media groups where both the researcher and the respondent are members. This trend, again, was not unique to India and many international societies conducted large online surveys during the same period.

Surveys are among the most difficult types of research to perform well. Just like any other study, setting a predefined endpoint, establishing tools to achieve that endpoint, and calculating sample sizes are an integral part of well-conducted surveys. Ensuring unbiased, voluntary participation is not always easy. A large questionnaire with numerous nontargeted questions not only puts off potential respondents but also makes it difficult to assess validity. Badgering respondents is quite likely to elicit an untrue response, simply to fulfill an obligation.

Validating a questionnaire is a crucial aspect of survey-based research. Validation, in a broad context, means ensuring that the questions assess precisely that which the investigator wishes to assess. Response to questions can vary due to multiple confounding reasons, even among a relatively well-defined cohort such as urologists. Questions must not be leading, confusing, or exhibit an inherent bias of the researcher. A quick look at the proposed flowchart for survey construction and the checklists for defining good questions would show that these are far from easy.[3],[4]

Surveys within small communities come with additional validity problems. Unlike patient or public surveys that are usually anonymous, surveys among colleagues mean that the respondents and researchers are known to each other and some responses may occur simply with the aim of pleasing the researcher rather than through a true intention to participate. This is exemplified by respondents posting on social media platforms that they have completed the survey. This not only endangers anonymity but also brings the validity into question since the respondent is more likely to answer “as expected” rather than with an open mind. Well-done surveys are an important source of scientific knowledge, but poorly performed ones are not only a waste of resources but have the potential to harm decision-making.

Beginning January 2022, the IJU will be joined by two new associate editors as Drs. Santosh Kumar and Arabind Panda complete their tenures in those positions. Both these editors have dedicated large amounts of time over the last 10 years to help bring the journal to its current position. We thank them for their contributions and welcome Drs. Sanjay Sinha and Arvind Ganpule to their new positions.

 
   References Top

1.
Alkhouri NB, Mutka MC, Stefanak MP, Bearer C. The impact of COVID-19 on manuscript submissions to pediatric research. Pediatr Res 2021;90:6-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Kibbe MR. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on manuscript submissions by women. JAMA Surg 2020;155:803-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Tsang S, Royse CF, Terkawi AS. Guidelines for developing, translating, and validating a questionnaire in perioperative and pain medicine. Saudi J Anaesth 2017;11:S80-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Alderman AK, Salem B. Survey research. Plast Reconstr Surg 2010;126:1381-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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