As part of the Centre’s commitment to continuous improvement, in November 2016 the Centre invited readers of Australian Pro Bono News (APBN) to complete an online evaluation quiz. The objectives of the quiz were to measure the overall value of the APBN to its readers, and to evaluate the publication’s content focus and format.
The quiz drew 36 substantive responses, representing 11.5% of the November issue readers. Among the participants were lawyers, non-legal professionals and support staff, who worked in law firms, in-house legal teams, community legal centres, pro bono referral organisations, universities and government. This diversity reflects the broad range of APBN readers.
Quiz participants were asked to rate the APBN overall, as a source of relevant news about pro bono legal work for the Australian pro bono community. The average rating was 6.7 out of 10, with individual ratings ranging from zero to 10, and 15 respondents (41.6%) giving a rating of 8 or more.
This is an encouraging response, indicating strong support for the APBN as well as an opportunity for growth.
Content caters for diverse information needs
As regards the APBN’s content focus, quiz participants were given a list of general topics currently covered in the APBN, and asked to rate each topic as “highly relevant”, “often relevant”, “occasionally relevant or of general interest” or “not relevant and of no interest”.
In the responses, every topic was rated “highly relevant” or “often relevant” by at least 19 respondents (52.7%) – in some cases, by 27 respondents (75%). The three topics rated “highly relevant” or “often relevant” the most were:
- Pro bono projects or initiatives in Australia
- Information resources (eg. publications, research papers, reports), and
- “Pro bono in the news”.
Almost every topic, however, attracted the full range of ratings, from “highly relevant” to “not relevant and of no interest”, even though no two respondents gave the same set of ratings.
Overall, the results for this question suggest that APBN readers have a wide range of information needs, which are nevertheless effectively catered for by the current topics.
Quiz participants were also asked what new topics they’d like to see. As a result of the suggestions made, this year we will introduce:
- editorial and opinion pieces on current issues,
- more content that focuses on pro bono in RRR areas, and
- case studies of firms or in-house legal teams that have a thriving pro bono practice.
Readers will also be encouraged to engage with the APBN via social media, by retweeting individual articles (@AusPBC), or by joining conversations via LinkedIn.
When asked to rate the current format of the APBN, most respondents (89.3%) thought that the APBN is “about the right length”. Most (85.7%) also considered that the current publishing schedule – about 11 issues a year – is “about right”.
Thank you to all those who participated in the quiz. We look forward to this becoming an annual event in the Centre’s calendar.