Government Eval TIG Week: Using a Free and Validated Questionnaire to Make the Most of a Government Evaluation Requirement by Allison Watson, Peyton Holzworth, and Sara Wolicki

From left to right, photos of Authors Allison Watson, Peyton Holzworth, and Sara Wolicki
From left to right: Authors Allison Watson, Peyton Holzworth, and Sara Wolicki

Hello, we’re Allison Watson, Peyton Holzworth (Fellows), and Sara Wolicki from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of Select Agents and Toxins (DSAT). DSAT oversees the Import Permit Program (IPP). IPP regulates the importation of infectious biological agents and vectors that could cause disease in humans to prevent their introduction and spread into the United States.  To administer this program, DSAT created the electronic Import Permit Program (eIPP) information system.  eIPP is a moderate security, cloud-based, electronic information system for receiving all import permit applications from U.S. importers. 

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-11 requires that all capital investments, including information systems, complete annual operational analysis as part of the Management In-Use phase of the asset life cycle. Within its Capital Programming Guide supplement to the A-11, OMB lists three areas of consideration as part of the operational analysis activity, which includes seven questions that reveal useful information about each area. To complete this annual requirement, DSAT utilized the User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ), which is an evidence-based, validated questionnaire that measures a user’s experience with an interactive product. The UEQ focuses on hedonic and pragmatic qualities, which correlate to three constructs in each area (Image #1).

Image displays the User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ) and the corresponding qualities and constructs.
Image #1: User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ) and the corresponding qualities and constructs.

Rad Resource

Benefits of the UEQ:

  • Open source (free)
  • Available in 36 languages
  • Generic and can be applied to a variety of interactive products
  • Includes 8-prompt and 26-prompt versions of the questionnaire
  • Website includes a turn-key user handbook, Excel spreadsheet for analysis, and publications explaining the theory and validation methods
  • Provides a validated questionnaire addressing key objectives identified in the Capital Programming Guide, supplement to the OMB Circular A-11

First, we evaluated the eIPP information system users’ experience. Since we were already required to assess our users’ satisfaction for an annual operational analysis report, we decided to go above and beyond the requirement by combining the UEQ with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs accompany the UEQ and align with the UEQ’s qualities and constructs. Using both questionnaires, we assessed our eIPP information system users’ current experience with eIPP information system using the UEQ and compared it to their ideal experience using the KPIs. 

Based on our users’ responses, we have an understanding of their key areas of interest and can generate ideas for system improvements. Overall, the results helped to support our use of the UEQ and KPIs to gather information for the annual operational analysis. We can also use the UEQ and KPIs longitudinally to view trends in our users’ experience over time. Additionally, the UEQ and KPIs are generic and can be applied to a variety of interactive systems, allowing us to compare improvements, features, and users’ experiences overall. We are excited about utilizing the UEQ and KPIs to evaluate our information systems. This open-source tool is great for government programs that may be looking to evaluate their own interactive systems. 


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

This report was supported in part by an appointment to the Research Participation Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and CDC.

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