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Paper-Based Questionnaire Surveys in U.S. ranch-management literature Kristin Gangwer February 22, 2010 GEOG 5161-002.

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Presentation on theme: "Paper-Based Questionnaire Surveys in U.S. ranch-management literature Kristin Gangwer February 22, 2010 GEOG 5161-002."— Presentation transcript:

1 Paper-Based Questionnaire Surveys in U.S. ranch-management literature Kristin Gangwer February 22, 2010 GEOG

2 Method of generating primary data for quantitative or mixed-methods studies “Provides a quantitative or numeric description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population.” Data then used to calculate statistical information Overview of Questionnaire Surveys

3 Questionnaire design – Open, closed Sample – Population, size, demographic characteristics, selection of individuals, stratification Delivery medium - Face-to-face, postal, telephone, Cross-sectional or longitudinal Response bias For the rest of the presentation I will be speaking specifically about: Paper-based, postal questionnaires that are self administered and cross-sectional. Considerations

4 Strengths Increases potential sample size Reaches geographically-disperse respondents Weaknesses Lower response rates (especially without return postage) Incomplete responses Increased costs Can’t clear up misunderstandings General Strengths & Weaknesses

5 Aging population Geographic dispersion Access to contact information Sample size Popular for studying natural resource issues (Didier and Brunson 2004, 331) 1.Population parameters can be quantified 2.Analytical tools are well defined and can be used to provide generalizations about the population under study 3.Variance of key parameters and the degree of confidence associated with hypotheses can be estimated 4.Replication and validation are relatively easy when standardized procedures are used 5.Survey method generally accepted by the scientific community Advantages for Ranch-Management Studies

6 1.“Socioeconomic behavior of cattle ranchers, with implications for rural community development in the West” (Smith and Martin 1972) 2.“Motivation of Colorado ranchers with federal grazing allotments” (Bartlett et al. 1989) 3.“To ranch or not to ranch: Home on the urban range?” (Liffmann, Huntsinger and Forero 2000) 4.“Classifying federal public land grazing permittees” (Gentner and Tanaka 2002) Examples

7 Sought to understand cattle ranching and ranchers by viewing the ranch resource as generating both production and consumption outputs. 89-person random sample of Arizona ranch owners 33-question questionnaire Economic and attitudinal variables Socioeconomic Behavior of Cattle Ranchers, with Implications for Rural Community Development in the West Arthur H. Smith and William E. Martin American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 1972

8 Factor analysis – 11 factors (explaining 69.2 percent of the variance of the original variables) – 4 basic groups (not mutually exclusive) Discriminant analysis – Used to determine if a significant difference in goals and attitudes existed between ranchers willing to sell their ranches and those who weren’t Final discriminant function – Used 3 of the original factors, which were found to significantly explain differences between groups (i.e., keep or sell) Predict keep or sell with 80% accuracy Socioeconomic Behavior of Cattle Ranchers, with Implications for Rural Community Development in the West Arthur H. Smith and William E. Martin American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 1972

9 Determined ranchers’ willingness to sell their ranches and determined which factors were important in their decision to ranch. Postal survey Questions developed from literature Random sample of the 1,530 ranchers who had summer federal grazing permits in CO in 1983, and who had cattle Excluded other seasons and grazing for sheep from sample Pre-survey of 238 to see if population understood and responded well to the format and questions. Also to estimate response variance and response rate to determine the required sample size. Result: shortened survey and clarified some questions. Improved survey sent to 1,000 ranchers, with one additional mailing to nonrespondents. Pooled pre-survey and survey responses. 313 useable surveys returned. Motivation of Colorado Ranchers with Federal Grazing Allotments E.T. Bartlett, R.G. Taylor, J.R. McKean and J.G. Hof Journal of Range Management, 1989

10 Simple correlation analysis didn’t appear promising Cluster analysis -- 4 groups identified – 7 variables relating to continuing ranching examined – K-mean clustering – Nonhierarchical Motivation of Colorado Ranchers with Federal Grazing Allotments E.T. Bartlett, R.G. Taylor, J.R. McKean and J.G. Hof Journal of Range Management, 1989

11 Ranchers in 3 CA counties (2 areas) surveyed about effects of increasing development, land use change, and attrition of the ranching community on their commitment to ranching -- and also to assess land conservation program acceptability. Questions: practices, reasons for ranching, and what influences ranching’s future. Sample randomly selected from compilation of U.C. Extension’s Farm Advisor list, NRCS list, and an emergency feed program list. Respondents had to 1) graze livestock in the study areas and 2) be the main decision maker. Postal questionnaire, 4-wave mailing technique, winter of 1993/94 Eligible and usable questionnaires:132 of 178 in Tehama County, and 113 of 204 in Alameda/Contra Costa County. Booklet form, 19 pages long, 48 questions and groups of questions (topically based) Likert-scale, 1-5 ranking of importance (1=not at all important, 4=very important, 5=does not apply To Ranch or Not to Ranch: Home On the Urban Range? Robin H. Liffmann, Lynn Huntsinger and Larry C. Forero Journal of Range Management, 2000

12 Statistical tests performed: – Chi-square: significant differences in categorical responses between ranchers in the 2 study areas – Student’s t-test: compare grouped continuous variables (ex: respondent age, how long ranch owned). – Alpha level =.1 (p<.1 discussed as significant) To Ranch or Not to Ranch: Home On the Urban Range? Robin H. Liffmann, Lynn Huntsinger and Larry C. Forero Journal of Range Management, 2000

13 Identified the characteristics and attitudes of public land ranchers (U.S. Forest Service and BLM). Duplicate addresses and institutional permits removed from permittee lists, leaving total individual ranch-operator population of 21,018. Random sample of 2,000 operators 4 mailings spread over 8 weeks 53.5% useable response rate <3 items left blank, responses kept and missing values imputed from rest of data Follow-up telephone survey of 100 randomly selected non-respondents: the means of key demographic characteristics not significantly different between respondents and non-respondents. Data can be interpreted to accurately represent the population of all public land permittees. Classifying Federal Public Land Grazing Permittees Bradley J. Gentner and John A. Tanaka Journal of Range Management, 2002

14 Cluster analysis -- 8 groups identified – Observational units – Rancher attributes Previous literature (Bartlett et al. 1989; Smith and Martin 1972) Focus group interviews in Oregon and New Mexico helped hone list – K-means algorithm – Validation process Classifying Federal Public Land Grazing Permittees Bradley J. Gentner and John A. Tanaka Journal of Range Management, 2002

15 Inhibits discovery – Pre-determined questions and appropriate range of responses Inflexible – Can’t adapt throughout research process Focus on aggregates rather than individuals – Heterogeneity of ranchers (difficult to make generalizations, etc.) Can’t account for unanticipated outcomes Misses detailed, ranch-level analysis and complexity (Eakin and Conley 2002, 272) Unable to explore rancher decision-making frameworks (Sayre 2004, 668) Limitations

16 Other surveys – Face-to-face, structured interviews – Web, telephone questionnaires Qualitative methods – In-depth interviews (Eakin and Conley 2002) – Semi-structured interviews (Knapp and Fernandez-Gimenez 2009) – Grounded theory: inductive approach where researcher begins with observations and then identifies patterns (Didier and Brunson 2004, 331) – “The authors are currently planning a study in Arizona to examine these “impact” relationships in detail and to explain the viability or lack of viability of small rural communities and the ranches nearby. In doing so, the authors do not feel they can use aggregate methods such as input-output analysis or economic base analysis, traditionally used by economists in impact studies. Such methods are too mechanical and gloss over the complex social interrelationships so important in the business of small rural communities. The authors feel they must take an almost anthropological view of the communities’ inhabitants in order to examine the detailed interactions involved” (Smith and Martin 1972, 8). Mixture of interviews and questionnaire (Rowe, Bartlett and Swanson, Jr. 2001) Other Methods

17 Bartlett, E.T., R.G. Taylor, J.R. McKean, and J.G. Hof Motivation of Colorado ranchers with federal grazing allotments. Journal of Range Management 42: Creswell, J.W Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Didier, E.A. and M.W. Brunson Adoption of range management innovations by Utah ranchers. Journal of Range Management 57: Eakin, H., and J. Conley Climate variability and the vulnerability of ranching in southeastern Arizona: a pilot study. Climate Research 21: Kitchin, R. and N.J. Tate Conducting research in human geography: theory, methodology and practice. London: Prentice Hall. Liffmann, R.H., L. Huntsinger, and L.C. Forero To ranch or not to ranch: Home on the urban range? Journal of Range Management 53: Rowe, H.I., E.T. Bartlett, and L.E. Swanson, Jr Ranching motivations in 2 Colorado counties. Journal of Range Management 54: Smith, A.H. and W.E. Martin Socioeconomic behavior of cattle ranchers, with implications for rural communities. Journal of Agricultural Economics: 1-9. Sources

18 Questions?


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