From The Ground Up

The Publication of Archaeological Projects

a user needs survey



Appendix 3.1: Questionnaire

This questionnaire is part of an extensive survey, being conducted by the Council for British Archaeology, focussing on how archaeological publications, especially those concerning fieldwork, are being used and what users need and expect from them. By completing this questionnaire you have a real opportunity to influence the debate on publication and ensure that user needs and opinions are taken into consideration when policy decisions are made in the future.

The questionnaire includes questions about:

Your response will be confidential. Your name will not be used in the report or disclosed to anyone outside the survey team. If you have any questions about this, or the questionnaire in general, please contact the Project Officer, Siân Jones, The Council for British Archaeology, St Mary's House, 66 Bootham, York YO30 7BZ, email

Thank you for your help.

Instructions for respondents

In completing the questionnaire please:

  • read the definitions carefully
  • tick boxes and write clearly in block capitals throughout
  • try to answer all the questions, but if you wish to ignore some your questionnaire will still be of value to us
  • answer on behalf of yourself, rather than any organisations you may work for, or be associated with
  • treat all time scales as approximate. They are designed to indicate trends in user behaviour
  • return the questionnaire to us using the enclosed pre-paid envelope by Friday 12 June 1998

Definitions of terms used in the questionnaire

Fieldwork project: any fieldwork (or underwater) project, including watching briefs, evaluations, excavations, and surveys of all kinds (e.g. buildings, earthworks, field walking, geophysics and aerial photography), as well as related artefact and ecofact (environmental) analysis.

Fieldwork publication: any work that serves to record and disseminate information derived from a fieldwork project (as defined above), whether produced in printed or other media. This broad definition includes 'grey literature' as well as 'published works' (see below).

Published work: any publication which is issued for public sale/widespread distribution, and/or has an ISBN/ISSN.

Grey literature: any work which is not issued for public sale/widespread distribution and does not have an ISBN/ISSN, as is often the case, for instance, with reports derived from small-scale developer-funded projects.

Project archive: the primary records (including paper, digital (computerised) and microfiche records, plans, notes, recording sheets, and photographs) and the collected remains (including artefacts and ecofacts) resulting from a fieldwork project. (Although the records and collected remains may be deposited at different locations in some parts of the British Isles, they are here both defined as forming part of the overall project archive.)

'Use' of publications: anything ranging from brief consultation to in-depth study/extensive reading.

1. Personal details

In this section we wish to obtain some details about you to allow us to assess the results of the survey. These details are very important. Without them, we will not be able to make full use of the rest of your responses to the questionnaire.

1.1 Name and address:
(Please use either your work or home address depending on which is most relevant to your involvement in archaeology)






NB Even if you have an objection to stating your name and address, it is very important that you tell us your postcode, county/district and country.

1.2 How old are you?

() 18 or under
() 19-24
() 25-34
() 35-44
() 45-54
() 55-64
() 65 or over

1.3 Are you:

() female
() male

1.4a Which of the following constituencies describe(s) your position(s) with relation to archaeology?
(If you belong to more than one of these, please indicate primary, secondary and tertiary constituences and then use the final column to tick any other(s). N.B. 'Primary' should be that constituency which you devote most time to, and so on)

Archaeological constituency primary
tick one box
tick one box
tick one box
tick as many
as you wish
Archaeological consultant        
Archaeological scientist        
Archaeologists working for a national body (eg Cadw, RCHME)        
Conservator (of artefacts)        
Contractor / fieldworker        
Editor (of archaeological publications)        
Extra-mural / secondary school archaeology teacher        
Illustrator (of archaeological publications)        
Independent (amateur) archaeologist        
Local government archaeologist (eg county archaeologist)        
Member of cognate discipline (geology, history, geography, etc)        
Member of local / regional archaeology society        
Member of national archaeology society        
Metal detectorist        
Museum curator / archaeologist        
Postgraduate archaeology student        
Specialist (artefact / ecofact)        
Undergraduate / FE archaeology student        
University / college archaeology staff        
Other(s) (please specify):



1.4b Are you actively engaged in archaeological research in any of the constituencies which you ticked and/or outside of them?

() Yes
() No

If 'yes', please tell us which of your constituencies, if any involves you in active research?

1.5 What is your current employment status with relation to archaeology?
(Please tick all those which apply)

() Employed full-time in archaeology
() Employed part-time in archaeology
() Self-employed in archaeology
() Unemployed archaeologist
() Engaged in full-time study in archaeology
() Engaged in part-time study in archaeology
() Involved in archaeology on a voluntary basis
() Retired
() Other (please specify):

1.6 Which archaeological societies / organisations do you belong to?
(Please tick the listed organisations where applicable and add any additional ones below)

() Council for British Archaeology/Council for Scottish Archaeology (and regional/national variants)
() Council for Independent Archaeology
() Institute of Field Archaeologists
() Irish Association of Professional Archaeologists
() Other(s):

1.7 What are your main archaeological interest(s) / field(s) of study?
(Please indicate subject(s), region(s) and period(s). If your archaeological interests are solely of a general nature, just state 'general'. N.B. Include those relating to employment, if any)


1.8 Have you ever written (or directly contributed to) any of the following types of archaeological publication?
(Please tick all those which apply)

() Fieldwork publication(s)
() Publications on specific subjects / regions / periods (syntheses)
() Publications on theory / method
() Publications on heritage / management
() Policy / legislation document(s)
() Museum collection catalogue(s)
() Popular archaeological publication(s) (inc. site/exhibition guides)
() Other(s) (please specify):

2. How you obtain information and use archaeological publications in general

In this section we want to find out how you locate archaeological information and how you use archaeological publications in general. Please give us as much information as possible. You may feel that answers such as 'not useful' or 'don't know' are in some way negative, but they are just as important as any other answer, so please do not leave them blank.

2.1 How useful do you find the following sources of information for maintaining an overview of recent work in your field(s) of study / area(s) of interest?
(Please tick one box per row)

Source of information very useful sometimes useful not useful difficulty gaining access don't know
Abstracting / bibliographic publications (eg British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography)          
Publications containing lists and / or brief reports (eg Discovery & Excavation in Scotland)          
National Monuments Records / Sites and Monuments Records)          
Publishers' catalogues          
Publications on specific subjects / regions / periods (syntheses)          
Relevant journals / magazines          
Conferences / lectures / seminars          
Colleagues / friends          
World Wide Web (WWW)          
Email bulletin boards          
Other(s) (please specify):



2.2 Do you feel that there is relevant information being produced in your field(s) of study / area(s) of interest that you are not aware of?

() No
() Yes, sometimes
() Yes, often

If 'yes' please give reasons:

2.3 How do you obtain the archaeological publications which you use?
(Please indicate the most important means, the second most important means, and the third, and then tick any others)

Means of obtaining them most important means

tick one box

2nd most important means

tick one box

3rd most important means

tick one box


tick as many as you wish

Buy them at publication price        
Buy them when remaindered        
Subscribe to journals / obtain journals as a member of a society        
Read in / borrow from a public library        
Read in / borrow from a society / university / institution library        
Borrow through inter-library load        
Borrow from friends / colleagues        
Photocopy them        
Obtain from NMR / SMR (grey literature)        
Access to them on the WWW        
Other(s) (please specify):



2.4 In general, how often do you monitor relevant journals and other sources of information specifically to maintain an awareness of recent fieldwork projects in the following regions / countries?
(Please tick one box per row)

Region / country on average
monthly quarterly annually less than annually never
Channel Islands          
Isle of Man          
Other regions / countries abroad          

2.5a In the last 6 months, how often have you used the following types of archaeological publication?
(Please tick one box per row)

NB For definition of 'use' and 'grey literature' see front page.

Type of publication

on average

once a week or more every 1-2 weeks every 2-4 weeks less than once a month not at all
Fieldwork publications: monographs          
Fieldwork publications: in journals / magazines          
Fieldwork publications: 'grey literature'          
Publications on specific subjects / regions / periods (syntheses)          
Publications on method and / or theory          
Publications on heritage and / or management          
Policy / legislation documents          
Museum collection catalogues          
Popular archaeological publications (inc site / exhibition catalogues)          
Other(s) (please specify):



2.5b Is this 6-month period representative of your normal pattern of use of these types of publication?

() yes
() no
() don't know / no opinion

If 'no', how does it differ from your normal pattern:


3. Specific uses of fieldwork publications

In this section we wish to find out about how you use fieldwork publications and project archives (if at all) and how this relates to your archaeological interests / work / research generally. We also wish to find out whether you are able to obtain the information that you need from these sources.

NB For definitions of 'use', 'fieldwork project', 'fieldwork publication', 'published work', 'grey literature', and 'archive' see front page.

3.1 In the last 12 months, how many fieldwork publications have you used?
(Please tick one box per row)

  0 1-5 6-10 11-25 26-50 51-100 101+
Published works              
Grey literature              

3.2 When you use fieldwork publications, how often do you use the following typical components?
(Please tick one box per row)

Component: always usually, ie most times sometimes rarely never
Introduction / summary          
Conclusion / discussion          
Account of structures / contexts / upstanding features          
Artefact / ecofact reports          
Artefact / ecofact catalogues          
Maps / plans / sections          
Artefact / ecofact illustrations          
Artistic reconstructions          
The entire publication          
Other(s) (please specify):



3.3 When you use fieldwork publications, how often do you use them for each of the following purposes?
(Please tick one box per row)

Purpose of use always usually, ie most times sometimes rarely never
For a general overview of the site          
To seek specific parallels with other sites / materials          
To obtain information about a specific category of data          
For a broader subject / regional / period synthesis          
For an assessment in advance of commercial development          
For partial / wholesale re-interpretation of the site or materials          
To obtain information about method(s)          
To obtain information for teaching others          
Other(s) (please specify):  

3.4 In general, do fieldwork publications provide you with all the information that you need for the above purposes?

() Yes
() No

If 'no', how could they be improved for your purposes? (NB please tell us about any typical shortcomings rather than individual exceptions)


3.5a How often do you critically assess the interpretations presented in fieldwork publications through a detailed reading of the account of the structures / contexts / upstanding features, and the specialist artefacts and ecofact reports?
(Please tick one box only)

always usually, ie most times sometimes rarely never

3.5b What problems have you encountered in this task, if any?
(Please distinguish between recent (post 1975) and older publications if relevant)


3.6a In the last 12 months, how many times have you followed up the use of fieldwork publications by consulting their respective archives?
(Please do not include multiple visits to the same project archive)

  0 1-5 6-10 11-25 26-50 51-100 101+
Paper / digital / film / microfiche records              
Collected remains (artefacts and ecofacts)              

If your answer to both sections was '0', please go to question 3.7.

3.6b Which of the following categories of archive material did you use?
(Please tick one box per row)

  yes no wished to, but it wasn't available
Paper / digital / microfiche / film records:  
Correspondence relating to fieldwork      
Survey reports (inc. geophysical survey / aerial photography interpretation)      
Notebooks / diaries      
Photographs / drawings      
Original records of contexts / finds / samples      
Records of conservation work      
Site matrix      
Archive report      
Summary accounts of artefacts /ecofacts / sample residues      
Other(s) (please specify):


Collected remains:  
Other(s) (please specify):



3.6c In general, how easy was it to use the following categories of archive material:
(Please tick one box per row)

  easy to use neither easy nor difficult difficult to use did not use / not available
Paper records        
Computerised records        
Microfiche records        
Collected remains (artefacts and ecofacts)        

3.6d Were you able to obtain the information which you needed from the archives that you used?

() Yes
() No

If 'no', please tell us why:


3.7 Have you, at any time, wished to use a project archive (or part of one) and been unable to do so?

() No, I've never wished to do so
() No, I've always been able to do so
() Yes

If 'yes' please give reason(s):


3.8 Have you any comments about your own use of fieldwork publications and archives, and your needs, that have not been covered by the questions in this section?


4. Principles of fieldwork publication

In this section we wish to find out what you expect from fieldwork publications and the values which you place on them. The questions relate to your general views on fieldwork publications rather than your own specific uses and needs.

4.1a Is there a need for a better system for reporting on recent / ongoing fieldwork projects within the British Isles on a regular basis, either in a single publication, or a series of regional / national publications?
(Please give reasons for your answer)

() Yes (go to 4.1b)
() No (go to 4.2)
() Don't know (go to 4.2)



4.1b Which of the following elements would you like to see included as part of this system of notification?
(Please tick as many as you wish)

() A list of brief details of all fieldwork projects
() Brief reports of fieldwork projects summarising the circumstances and objectives of the project, the main results, and the contents and location of the archive
() Overviews of selected themes relating to recent / ongoing fieldwork projects
() Don't know / no opinion
() Other (please specify):

4.2 What should be the purpose(s) of publishing the results of a fieldwork project?
(Please tick as many as you wish)

() To provide a brief report of the circumstances and objectives of the project, the main results, and the contents and location of the archive
() To provide a concise but full description of the primary data for wider dissemination with minimal analysis and interpretation
() To provide a concise but full description of the primary data with in-depth analysis and interpretation
() To provide an in-depth analysis and interpretation supported by selective reference to the primary data
() To provide a synthetic, narrative history based on the project
() To provide information about the site for the interested lay-reader
() Don't know / no opinion
() Other (specify):

Any further comments about the purposes of publishing fieldwork projects:


4.3 In general, do you think that recent (post 1975) fieldwork publications would benefit from more, just the same amount, or less of the following:
(Tick one box per row)

  more just the same less don't know
Information on general location        
Information on location(s) of the archive        
Information on the history of the project        
Description of the evidence        
Analysis of the evidence        
Interpretation of the evidence        
Cross-referencing between artefacts / ecofacts and archaeological contexts        
Integration between text and graphics        
Integration between specialist reports and main account        
Integration between description and interpretation        
Discussion of the experiences of those involved in the project and their effects on interpretation        
Synthesis of archaeological knowledge relating to the project        
Attention to narrative style / readability        
Attention to the index        
Other(s) (please specify):



4.4 Do you think that the quantity of 'grey literature' fieldwork publications being produced constitutes a problem for the discipline?
(Please give reasons for your answer)

() Yes
() No
() Don't know / no opinion



4.5a Do you think that there is an inadequate relationship between fieldwork projects (and the publications that result from them) and research / publications concerned with the synthesis of archaeological knowledge (e.g. about particular subjects, periods and regions)?
(Please give reasons for your answer)

() Yes (go to 4.5b)
() No (go to 4.6)
() Don't know / no opinion (go to 4.6)



4.5b What steps should be taken to overcome this inadequate relationship?

() Fieldwork publications should contain more synthesis
() Measures should be devised to encourage more research and publication which combine results from a number of fieldwork projects to provide broader synthesis
() Fieldwork projects should originate, and be designed and undertaken, within research frameworks directly aimed at syntheses of archaeological knowledge
() Other (please specify):

4.6 Do you think that fieldwork publications represent an appropriate means of disseminating information to the public? If not how should such dissemination be achieved?
(Please give reasons for your answer)

() Yes
() No
() Don't know / no opinion



4.7 Do you have any further comments about the publication of fieldwork projects and their relation to the overall research environment of the discipline, as well as the presentation of archaeological knowledge to lay audiences?


5. Publication media and content

In this section we wish to find out about what access you have to various types of communication media and your attitudes towards the use of these media for publication.

5.1 Do you currently have access (or plan for access) to:
(Please tick one box per row)

  current access plans for access in next year plans for access in next 1-5 years no access and no plans
Society / university / institutional library with good archaeological coverage        
Public library collection with good archaeological collection        
The Internet        
A means of printing from CD-ROM, the Internet and email        
Microfiche reader        

5.2 In general, do you prefer to read from:
(Please grade 1-4 in order of preference, 1 being your highest preference)

() Professionally published or books and journals
() Photocopies (from printed sources or microfiche) and computer print-out
() Computer screen
() Microfiche reader

5.3 How useful do you find the following computerised services in connection with your archaeological work / interests?
(Please tick one box per row)

  useful sometimes useful not useful don't use / don't know
Bibliographic databases (e.g.BIDS)        
Computerised library catalogues        
Internet archaeological publications        
Internet journals (e.g. Internet Archaeology)        
Institutional / personal web sites        
Email bulletin boards        
Other(s) (please specify):



5.4 What publication mechanism, conventional print, Internet and / or CD-ROM, would you like to see being used for the following types of archaeological publications?
(Please tick as many boxes per row as you wish)

type of publication conventional print Internet CD-ROM don't know / no opinion
Fieldwork publications        
National archaeological journals        
Regional / local archaeological journals        
'Grey literature'        
Period and regional syntheses        
Theoretical and methodological books        
Heritage and management books        
Popular books        

5.5a Have you ever used archaeological fieldwork publications on the Internet?

() Yes (go to 5.5b)
() No (go to 5.6)

5.5b Did you have sufficient skills to view / use all the features of the publication that you wished to view / use?

() Yes
() No

If 'No', what did you find difficult?

5.5c Please answer the following questions:
(Please tick one box per row)

  better just the same worse not used by me / the authors don't know / no opinion
How did electronic links providing non-linear narrative compare with conventional narrative?          
How did electronic search facilities compare with conventional print indexes?          
How did the presentation of data in the electronic publications compare with that of conventional print publications?          
How did the presentation of graphic material in the electronic publications compare with that of conventional print publications?          

5.6 Electronic publication can allow the incorporation of 3-D modelling, video and sound. Would such developments in publication be useful for your requirements?
(Please tick one box)

() very much so
() somewhat
() not at all
() don't know / no opinion

5.7 Do you think that project archives should be available on the Internet?

() Yes
() No
() Don't know know / no opinion

5.8 At present, many publications on the Internet can be accessed free of charge (once you have paid for the connection costs). In future, would you be prepared to buy access to specific publications if you had the opportunity to browse them first?
(Please tick one box per row, and give reasons for your answer)

  Yes No Don't know / No opinion
Fieldwork publications      
Other types of archaeological publication      



6. Open section for any other comments

Please use this section to make any further comments on the publication of fieldwork projects, or this questionnaire. You may continue on a separate sheet if you wish.


Thank you for completing this questionnaire.

Please return it to us by Friday 12 June 1998. There is a pre-paid envelope enclosed for your convenience.

The Project Officer
The Publication of Archaeological Projects: a User Needs Survey
Council for British Archaeology
St Mary's House
66 Bootham
York, YO30 7BZ

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