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Experts Present Strategies for Collecting and Reporting Valid Labor Market Survey (LMS) Information at Idaho Industrial Commission Annual Seminar

12 Jun, 2023 Claire Muselman

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Boise, ID (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Recently, the Idaho Industrial Commission Annual Seminar on Workers' Compensation witnessed an informative and insightful session on collecting and reporting valid Labor Market Survey (LMS) information. The presentation, titled "Collecting and Reporting Valid Labor Market Survey (LMS) Information," was presented by Amber Maxwell, MEd, CRC, LPC, NCC, CLCP, CVE, CIWCS, WIP-C, CCC. Attendees gathered in Boise, Idaho, to gain valuable knowledge and strategies related to labor market surveys.

The primary objectives of the session were twofold: to define labor market surveys (LMS) and labor market research (LMR) within the labor market search (LMSea) framework and to identify and explore the twelve fundamental steps involved in conducting an effective labor market survey.

Maxwell introduced the conceptual model for labor market search to set the stage for understanding labor market surveys. She emphasized the distinction between secondary data, such as the Idaho Occupational Employment & Wage Survey, derived from existing sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Survey, and primary data, specifically labor market surveys. The latter focuses on gathering firsthand information about specific jobs within a defined geographical area, catering to the needs of individuals seeking employment.

Maxwell addressed the definition of a labor market survey, drawing from the International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation. Maxwell explained that an LMS is a method of gathering detailed information about jobs within a particular geographical area, serving the individual being assisted. Attendees understood the purpose and significance of labor market surveys in providing targeted and relevant information for job seekers.

The crux of the presentation revolved around the twelve essential steps involved in conducting a comprehensive labor market survey, which was divided into five distinct phases.

Phase I: Survey Design (Steps 1-7)

Step 1 delved into the crucial role of the research question in driving the entire survey design. Attendees were encouraged to consider what they wanted to know as a result of the survey and to identify the specific population to which the information would apply. Sample research questions for labor market surveys were provided, focusing on truck drivers and cashiers. These questions served as valuable examples for attendees to understand the thought process behind designing practical survey questions.

Step 2 highlighted the importance of defining terms in a labor market survey. This encompassed determining the survey questions and constructing a questionnaire to gather the required information accurately. Attendees were advised to keep the survey questions short, adhere to standard grammar and syntax, avoid jargon, check for hidden biases, and exercise caution when including personal questions. The objective was to elicit accurate responses from respondents without introducing any form of bias or confusion.

Attendees were also enlightened on the fundamental premise of the survey research process, which is to use the answers provided by respondents to describe their characteristics accurately. The importance of clear definitions of terms was emphasized, considering the inherent variations in human attributes and feelings. Attendees were advised to arrange survey questions logically, starting with objective questions before moving to subjective ones, and to follow a natural time sequence. Additionally, the presenters highlighted the significance of question transitions and the placement of relatively easy questions at the end.

Step 2 also touched upon personal questions in labor market surveys. Attendees were made aware that sensitive information is more accurately reported when respondents can self-administer the survey instead of being asked by interviewers. Researchers were cautioned about asking for information that may be difficult for respondents to report accurately due to its complex nature or extended time frame. Consulting records or discussing questions with others for improved reporting accuracy was emphasized.

The presentation provided examples of poor survey questions as cautionary examples. Attendees were advised to avoid multiple questions within a single item, which could lead to confusion or inaccurate responses. Poorly worded questions, such as those inquiring about the abilities of a person rather than the demands of the work, were also highlighted.

Phase I: Survey Design (Steps 3-7)

Step 3 focused on interviewers and interviews. Attendees were reminded that the attitude of interviewers toward the survey could significantly impact the response rate. Maxwell emphasized that interviewers should maintain a positive outlook and convey the importance of the survey to respondents, thereby increasing the likelihood of obtaining meaningful responses.

Step 4 delved into the process of selecting the population for the survey. Attendees were prompted to consider questions such as whom they intended to call, why those sources were the most suitable, where they were located, and how they would be located. The sampling frame was discussed, representing the list of all employers or individuals who had a chance to be contacted within the identified target population. The population selection was critical to ensure the survey's validity and relevance.

The distinction between conducting a census and a sample was the focus of Step 5. A census refers to surveying the entire population, while a sample entails selecting a subset for surveying. Attendees were made aware that the sample size is not the sole determinant of its credibility. Instead, the emphasis was placed on designing a well-structured sample rather than merely increasing its size. The presenters highlighted that many survey responses only enhance credibility if the sample design is flawed or if response rates are low. They also discussed how sample size decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific goals of the study and other factors influencing research design.

In Step 6, attendees were introduced to random and nonrandom sampling concepts. Random sampling, also known as probability sampling, was highlighted as a reliable method, while nonrandom sampling, referred to as convenience or availability sampling, was deemed less rigorous. The importance of a good sampling frame, a simple random or systematic sample scheme, and consistent respondent selection rates were stressed for achieving accurate and representative results.

Step 7 underscored the significance of constructing and testing the survey instrument. Attendees were advised to pay attention to the background, survey questions, and comments while constructing the instrument. Testing the questionnaire (piloting) was encouraged to refine the survey instrument and ensure its effectiveness.

Phase 2: Data Collection (Step 8)

Step 8 addressed the process of data collection and preparation. Attendees were encouraged to examine the data collected during the survey thoroughly. The presenters highlighted that not all respondents may have provided answers to all the questions, resulting in missing data. The importance of asking for information that would be utilized and not burdening respondents with unnecessary queries was emphasized.

Phase 3: Data Analysis and Summary (Steps 9-10)

Step 9 sheds light on qualitative and quantitative data analysis. The qualitative research involved summarizing narrative answers based on identified themes. Attendees were introduced to the coding concept and were advised to establish code reliability, ensuring that at least two raters would assign the same code to a given response. Quantitative analysis, on the other hand, focuses on numerical data and descriptive statistics. The presenters provided an example of analyzing hourly wages for grocery store cashiers using mean, standard deviation, median, and interquartile range. These statistics served as valuable tools for summarizing and understanding the distribution of wages within the sample.

Step 10 emphasized the importance of summarizing the survey data. Attendees were presented with various methods for data summarization, including narratives, tables, charts, and graphs. The objective was to explain the collected data clearly and concisely, facilitating easy comprehension and interpretation.

Phase 4: Reporting the Survey Results (Step 11)

Step 11 delved into the ethical considerations of reporting survey results. The presenters emphasized the need to adhere to ethical guidelines outlined in Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46 Subpart A, which defines research as a systematic investigation contributing to generalizable knowledge and human subjects as living individuals involved in the investigation. Attendees were reminded of the responsibility to protect respondents' privacy and ensure the confidentiality of their responses.

The importance of maintaining ethical standards while reporting survey results was stressed, ensuring that respondents' privacy and confidentiality were respected throughout the process. The presenters highlighted the surveyors' role in safeguarding the data's integrity.

Phase 5: Data Integration (Step 12)

The final phase, Step 12, focused on data integration. Attendees were introduced to synthesizing and integrating the data collected from the survey. The presenters emphasized the significance of combining data from different sources and analyzing them collectively to understand the labor market comprehensively.

In conclusion, the session on collecting and reporting valid Labor Market Survey (LMS) information at the Idaho Industrial Commission Annual Seminar gave attendees a comprehensive understanding of the methodology and essential steps in conducting effective labor market surveys. The session equipped participants with practical strategies for survey design, data collection, analysis, and reporting, ensuring accurate and reliable labor market research. The Idaho Industrial Commission Annual Seminar on Workers' Compensation continued to serve as a valuable platform for industry professionals to enhance their knowledge and expertise in various aspects of workers' compensation. Attendees left the session equipped with the necessary tools and insights to conduct robust labor market surveys that benefit employers and individuals seeking employment.


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    • Claire Muselman

      Meet Dr. Claire C. Muselman, the Chief Operating Officer at WorkersCompensation.com, where she blends her vast academic insight and professional innovation with a uniquely positive energy. As the President of DCM, Dr. Muselman is renowned for her dynamic approach that reshapes and energizes the workers' compensation industry. Dr. Muselman's academic credentials are as remarkable as her professional achievements. Holding a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University, she specializes in employee engagement, human behavior, and the science of leadership. Her diverse background in educational leadership, public policy, political science, and dance epitomizes a multifaceted approach to leadership and learning. At Drake University, Dr. Muselman excels as an Assistant Professor of Practice and Co-Director of the Master of Science in Leadership Program. Her passion for teaching and commitment to innovative pedagogy demonstrate her dedication to cultivating future leaders in management, leadership, and business strategy. In the industry, Dr. Muselman actively contributes as an Ambassador for the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation and plays key roles in organizations such as Kids Chance of Iowa, WorkCompBlitz, and the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, underscoring her leadership and advocacy in workers’ compensation. A highly sought-after speaker, Dr. Muselman inspires professionals with her engaging talks on leadership, self-development, and risk management. Her philosophy of empathetic and emotionally intelligent leadership is at the heart of her message, encouraging innovation and progressive change in the industry. "Empowerment is key to progress. By nurturing today's professionals with empathy and intelligence, we're crafting tomorrow's leaders." - Dr. Claire C. Muselman

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