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Survey Research

Lecture on Interviews and Questionnaires used at London Metropolitan University

Richie W

on 30 November 2011

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Transcript of Survey Research

Questionnaires Question Wording Question Ordering Question Types Open Questions Closed Questions allow unstructured answer

allow to express some depth

may not be easily coded for computer analysis

can be difficult to compare across cases have a single (numerical) answer

have a fixed number of predetermined choices (yes/no or strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree)

can easily be coded for computer analysis (e.g. from 1 to 5) Response Alternatives can heavily influence the response outcome Occupation of 18-25 year old Romanians People construe language in
a variety of ways Have you bought bread last week? Questions must be clearly defined How much water do you drink? Do you think the United States should allow public speeches against democracy?

Do you think the United States should forbid public speeches against democracy? Yes: 21% No: 39% Responses can be drastically altered by an (in)appropriate choice of words
Question Wording (A) Do you think that the United States should let Communist newspaper reporters from other countries come to the USA and send back to their papers the news as they see it?
(B) Do you think that a Communist country like Russia should let American newspaper reporters come in and send back to America the news as they see it? Asking question (A) first:
37% Yes to Russian reporters in the USA
66% Yes to American reporters in Russia

Asking question (B) first:
90% Yes to American reporters in Russia
73% Yes to Russian reporters in the USA (A) How happy are you with your life in general?

(B) How many dates did you have last month? Asking question (A) first:
Correlation of 0.12
Asking question (B) first:
Correlation of 0.66 Attitudes towards a question in a survey are often set, or changed by, preceding questions that bear on the same or a similar topic
Scaled Responses The respondent is given a range of options to express his opinion

They are an endeavour to directly measure the respondent’s opinion

They enable easy comparative judgements about people’s attitudes, motivations and behaviours How many hours of TV do you watch every day? Version A:
up to 1/2 hour
1/2 to 1 hour
1 to 1 1/2 hours
1 1/2 to 2 hours
2 to 2 1/2 hours
More than 2 1/2 hours Version B:
up to 2 1/2 hours
2 1/2 to 3 hours
3 to 3 1/2 hours
3 1/2 to 4 hours
4 to 4 1/2 hours
More than 4 1/2 hours The Likert Scale The Semantic Differential Rating Scale The Staple Scale Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements (1=strongly agree, 2=agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree, 4=disagree, 5=strongly disagree)

The lecturer was always helpful 1 2 3 4 5
The lectures were well-prepared 1 2 3 4 5 Please rate the movie Avatar

thrilling _ _ _ _ _ boring
meaningless _ _ _ _ _ meaningful
novel _ _ _ _ _ old-fashioned Please indicate how accurate you think the following words describe your attitude towards Tesco supermarket

-3 -2 -1 fair prices +1 +2 +3
-3 -2 -1 poor service +1 +2 +3 Have your experiences as a woman manager been good or bad?

What are your experiences about this job? You need to decide whether you want to ask leading or neutral questions Sampling Interviews Qualitative vs. Quantitative Survey Research Qualitative Quantitative tries to form a complete picture
explores a phonomenon, where it might not be clear to the researcher what exactly she is looking for – the focus becomes apparent through research
may yield descriptions of emotions or experiences
interprets findings, which most likely leads to some researcher bias is ideal to test hypotheses
the researcher needs to be clear about what it is that she wants to measure before collecting data
determines the size of an effect
analyses data through statistical methods Triangulation Facilitation Complementarity Cross-checking qualitative and quantitative data Qualitative research facilitates quantitative research
and vice versa Use qualitative and quantitative research side by side
to enrich each other Approaches to Qualitative Research Types of Interview Study Types of Interviews Analytic Techniques Case Study

Focus group

Ethnographic research

Grounded theory

... Positivist


Constructionist Structured & standardised


Unstructured, informal, narrative little flexibility, maybe miss out on something important explore a topic and move in any direction
dependance on what the participant talks about
good interpersonal skills needed systematic material, but informal tone Pattern matching

Explanation building

Time-series analysis

Cross-case analysis Population Sample Respondents Probability sampling Nonprobability sampling Every unit in the population has a chance of being selected Easily accessible individuals, e.g. people in a shopping mall in the morning Whereas systematic sampling techniques are more important in quantitative studies, accessibility and suitability of the research participants are more important issues in qualitative research
representative? A poorly constructed questionnaire will produce virtually useless results
Ethical Considerations Practical Considerations Nature of the research


Anonymity Time management - being flexible Before During After Realistic interview partners

Different interests between researcher and company

Medium - In person, Telephone, ... Let the participant talk

Always ask for clarification if necessary

At the end, ask whether there is anything else worth considering Send participants a thank you note and feedback

Transcribe the interviews - 1 day per 1 hour interview remove anything that could lead to an identification of the person or the company Separate research question from survey questions Research question Hypotheses Constructs Survey questions
Full transcript