Listening to the profession: the AOP member survey

AOP communications director, John White, told OT  what the AOP’s 2022 member research will involve

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This month the AOP has launched its 2022 member research project, a two-pronged programme that will support the AOP’s five-year strategy, which was published in June this year.

The research programme will involve member focus groups taking place in October and November, and a quantitative online survey for all AOP members which is scheduled to take place in January 2023.

To find out more, OT spoke to AOP communications director, John White:

Could you tell us about the AOP’s member research project? What is the aim of the research?

Membership surveys are a vital listening exercise for the AOP. The research project will enable us to ask questions of our members about their evolving attitudes to their profession and career. This insight in turn will inform our thinking as we deliver our five-year strategy, and will help us to review and enhance what we offer members based on their individual needs.

We undertake large-scale surveys with members every three to four years typically. To make sure the process is robust and credible, we are partnering with the independent market research agency Research by Design (RbD) to conduct the research and analyse the results.

RbD has worked with the AOP for over 10 years on multiple research programmes and has an excellent track-record producing in-depth research for peer membership bodies, societies and colleges, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of General Practitioners and The Royal Society of Chemistry, among many others.

Membership surveys are a vital listening exercise for the AOP


Why is it important to carry out this research now?

We recognise that the profession is changing – and the speed and scale of these changes have accelerated during the pandemic. What our survey will do is explore the experiences of optometric professionals and consider what expectations members hold about the profession, now and in the future. For example, what services do members believe optometry will offer in the community – and how will the optometrist’s role and the practice team’s role adapt? We also plan to ask questions about members’ individual career ambitions and development needs, and how the AOP can help to achieve these goals.

How will the results of the survey help to shape AOP plans going forwards?

Our mission at the AOP is to protect the individual professional, promote their interests, and provide unrivalled support which enables members to deliver high quality eye care to the public with confidence. As the lifetime career partner to our members, we are clear that understanding our members better will help us to ‘serve, protect and promote’ them, while advocating the value of their roles in primary care and beyond.

How can members take part?

We will be asking members to take part in the online survey in January 2023. Personalised invitations to participate will be sent by RbD via email to members who are opted in to receive membership surveys.

Our membership is varied, and as such members can expect questions to vary based on their mode of practice and career stage. The survey is likely to take seven – 12 minutes to complete, depending on the individual’s comments.

For the results of the research to be statistically meaningful, we would like to see as many members as possible take part. That’s why we ask members to check their ‘MyAOP Communications’ setting to make sure they have ticked ‘yes’ to receiving information about AOP surveys.

The AOP has produced a set of frequently asked questions about the research project, including more information on how the research will be carried out, and data protection.

This article has been updated to reflect the dates that the focus groups will take place.