Surveys Survey Research Flashcards

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Surveys
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may be used for descriptive, explanatory and exploratory purposes
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Respondents
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a person who provides data for analysis by responding to a survey questionnaire
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Careful probability sampling
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provides a group of respondents whose characteristics may be taken to reflect those of the larger population, and carefully constructed standardized questionnaires provide data in the same form from all respondents
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Survey Research
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best method available to the social scientist s interested in collecting original data for describing a population too large to observe directly
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Questionnaire
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a document containing questions and other types of items designed to solicit information appropriate to analysis. Used primarily in survey research
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Open ended questions
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questions to which respondents are asked to provide their own answers. Qualitative in depth interviewing heavily relies on these, but they are sometimes used in other forms of data collections such as telephone surveys and self administered questionnaires
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Close ended questions
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questions to which the respondent is asked to select an answer from among a list provided by the researcher. These are popular in research because they provide greater uniformity of responses and are more easily processed than open ended questions
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Open ended questions must
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must be coded before they can be processed for computer analysis
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Open ended question responses
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must be interpreted by the researcher, opening the possibility of misunderstanding and researcher bias, another danger is that some respondents will give answers irrelevant to the researchers intent
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Close ended responses
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can be directly transmitted into a computer format
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Chief shortcoming of close ended questions
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lies in researchers structuring of responses. When the relevant answer to a given question are relatively clear, there should be no problem. In other case, however, the researchers structuring of responses may overlook some important responses
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Structural Requirements for close ended questions
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response categories provided should be exhaustive: they should include all possible responses that might be expected (ensured by other: please specify). The answer categories must be mutually exclusive: the respondent should not be compelled to select more than one
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Avoid Double Barreled Questions
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researchers must not ask for a single answer to a question that has multiple parts
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Respondent Requirements
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must answer reliably, must be willing to answer
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Questions
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should be relevant, ideally we would like respondents to simply report that they do not know, have no opinion or are undecided in instances where that is the case
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Short Items are best
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long and complicated items should be avoided, should be able to read them quickly, understand the intent and select or provide an answer without full difficulty
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Negative Items
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the appearance of negation in a questionnaire item paves the way for easy misinterpretation
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Loaded Questions or Leading Questions
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questions containing bias, the use of certain wording can affect the outcome of responses, the true meaning of ones responses to a question depends in large part on its wording
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Bias
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refers to any property of questions that encourages respondents to answer in a particular way. The quality of a measurement device that tends to result in a misinterpretation of what is being measured in a particular direction
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Social Desirability
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answering a question that will make one look good, especially if interviewed face to face
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General Questionnaire Format
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should be spread out and uncluttered
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Inexperienced Researchers
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worry that their survey will be too long, as a result, squeeze several questions into a single line, abbreviate questions, and try to use as few pages as possible
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Formats for Respondents
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boxes adequately spaced apart are the best format
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Contingency questions
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a survey question, only intended for some respondents, determined by their responses to some other question, arises when researchers wish to ask a series of questions about a specific topic
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Advantages of Matrix Questions
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it uses space efficiently, respondents will probably find it faster to complete a set of questions presented in this fashion
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Ordering Items in a Questionnaire
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can affect responses, the appearance of one question can affect the answers given in later ones
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Prevented by randomization
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the effort is usually futile. Int he first place, a randomized set of items will probably strike respondents to answer because they must continually switch their attention from one topic to another
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Questionnaire Instructions
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should contain clear instructions and introductory comment where appropriate, useful to begin with basic instructions
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Pretesting the questionnaire
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pretest the questionnaire in full or in part, give questionnaire to a diverse set of ten people, it is not usually essential that the pretest subjects comprise of representative sample, although you should use people to whom the questionnaire is least relevant
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Precoding
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because the information collected by questionnaires is generally transformed into some sort of computer format, it is usually appropriate to include data processing instructions on the questionnaire itself, these instructions indicate where specific pieces of information will be store in the machine readable data files
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Basic Method of Mail Distribution and Return
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send questionnaire accompanied by a letter of explanation and a self-addressed, stamped envelope
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Strategy for Easy Return
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self mailing questionnaire requires no return envelope: when the questionnaire is folded in a particular way, the return address appears to be on the outside, respondent does not need to worry about losing the envelope
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Monitoring Survey Returns
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rate return graph: best to compile two graphs, one shows the number returned each day, the second reports the cumulative number or percentage
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Returned Questionnaires
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opened, scanned and assigned an identification number. Numbers should be assigned serially as the questionnaires are returned.
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Serialized ID numbers
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can be valuable in estimating nonresponse biases in the survey
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Follow Up Mailings: simple
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non-respondents are sent a letter of additional encouragement to participate
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Follow Up Mailings: better method
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send a new copy of the survey questionnaire with a follow up letter
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Effects of follow up mailings
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seen in the response rate curves recorded during data collection. The initial mailings will be followed by a rise and subsequent subsiding of returns; the follow up mailings will spur a resurgence of returns; and more follow ups will do the same
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Response rate
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the number of people participating in a survey divided by the number selected in the sample, in the form of percentage. This is also called the completion rate or, in self administered surveys, the return rate: the percentage of questionnaires sent out that are returned
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Interview
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a data collection encounter in which one person asks questions of another
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Advantages of questionnaire administered by Interviewer
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interview surveys typically obtain higher response rates than mail surveys, respondents more reluctant to turn down an interviewer, decreases \”I don’t knows\”
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Interviewer
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serves as a guard against confusing questionnaire items, if the respondent misunderstands the intent of the question or indicates that he/she does not understand, the interviewer can clarify matters, obtaining relevant responses

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