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Surveys and Questionnaires Editor: Stephen Murray

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1 Surveys and Questionnaires Editor: Stephen Murray

2 Questionnaires Best used when: There is a large sample
You want fairly straightforward information You want standardised data from identical questions You are more interested in what occurs rather than why or how They can be: Relevant to study topic Carefully worded Informal, Conversational Pretested, appropriate Include known information for respondent Appropriate length Simple Not leading Do you prefer being examined by a doctor of your own sex? Would you rather be examined by a: Male doctor [ ] Female doctor [ ] Either/ doesn’t matter [ ] WHAT MAKES A GOOD QUESTIONNAIRE: Remember the analysis you want to do before writing the questionnaire Appreciate the strengths and weakness of different ways of asking a question Know several ways to make questionnaires more user friendly (For respondents and for data entry) Wise to PILOT TEST your questionnaire

3 TYPES OF QUESTIONS OPEN –ENDED QUESTIONS Open-Ended questions seek the answer in the respondent’s own words e.g. Q: What habits do you believe increase a person’s chance of having heart attack? ADVANTAGES: Does not suggest a response Allows a detailed response Allows respondent to answer in their own words May provide you with expressions or phrases understood by the population Useful for constructing response categories for later close-ended questionnaires DISADVANTAGES: Time consuming to administer Difficult to code responses Doesn’t work as self-administered questionnaires CLOSE- ENDED QUESTIONS Close-ended questions provides a list of possible alternatives from which a respondent may choose one or more pre-selected answers E.g. Q: Which one of following do you think increases a persons chance of having a heart attack the most? (Check one) [ ] Smoking [ ] Being overweight [ ] Stress [ ] Family History Quicker and easy to answer Easier to tabulate and analyze Lead the respondent in certain directions Does not allow respondent to express his own views Potential responses listed by the investigator may not include the answer that is most appropriate for a particular response

Ask the respondent only the information you don’t already have Ask only one question at a time Keep open-ended questions to a minimum Avoid language which suggests a response Provide for a sufficient number of response categories Arrange questions in logical sequence Group questions by topic Begin with easy but not insensitive questions Use Revise and test revise questionnaire on yourself, friends, relatives or co- workers Funneling procedure - start with more general questions and move to specific questions Make list of Variables Researcher should construct a detailed outline of the information that will be needed Search similar studies (local & international studies on same topic) Compose the wording – Use plain language and simple questions Use mostly closed/ended questions Revise the Questionnaire / Layout - Evaluate / Modify on basis of pilot study or pre-test Keep it short and simple - Appearance is crucial and affects (i.e., response rate) Ease of data summarisation and analysis Length of questionnaire (shorter and quick, or longer and time-consuming, affecting response rates)

Question order is important: Easy/difficult, General/particular Start with closed format questions / Start with questions relevant to the main subject Wording: Every word in question can influence on validity and reliability of responses Questions should be simple, free from ambiguity, encourage accurate and honest response without embarrassing/offending the respondent Simplicity: use simple and most common words Avoid technical terms and jargons e.g. “Drugs you can buy without a prescription” rather than to ask “Over the counter medication” Questions should be clear and specific as possible e.g. How much exercise do you get? How much stairs do you climb during a specific day? Neutrality: Avoid discouraging words, e.g. “During last month, how often do you drink excessive amount of alcohol?” vs. “ During the last month how often did you drink more than 5 drinks in one day?” Sensitive questions: Should put towards the end of questionnaire (or alternatively put embarrassing responses on a card, respondent can answer simply pointing to the card) Double-Barreled Questions: (two concepts in one question): How many cups of coffee or tea do you drink during a day? How many cups of coffee do you drink during a day? How many cups of tea do you drink during a day? Layout: Cover letter/introductory page giving study title, organisation & aim of the study Enough space for open ended questions Font size large enough to read without strain Clear and consistent instructions Don’t split questions or answers across pages Important to remember: Type on one side of Page Don’t continue the same question on next page Y You can use different colour of paper for different groups FINALLY, keep your questionnaire short and the questions simple, focused and appropriate

6 Questionnaire Results
Important Words bar graph Bar Graph: A diagram using bars whose lengths stand for a set of data. Data: Raw facts about people, objects, and events. Data is collected through research. Questionnaire: A set of questions to which people respond. Line Graph: A diagram using lines whose lengths stand for a set of data. Pictogram: A diagram using pictures whose lengths or numbers stand for a set of data. Pie Graph: A graph used to show percentages. It is circular and looks like a cut up pie. Population: The entire group being studied, for example, French Immersion junior students in Toronto. Respondent: A person who answers, or responds to a survey. Sample: A small section of a population, for example, French Immersion junior students at Beverly Glen. Sample Size: The number of respondents in a sample, for example, there are about 50 French Immersion junior students at Beverly Glen. Survey: An inspection of data. line graph pictogram pie graph

7 What is a Survey? The word survey means "to inspect".
It is used most often to describe a way of getting information from a sample of individuals. This sample is usually just a fraction of the population being studied. The most common types of survey are the interview and the questionnaire.

8 What is a Questionnaire?
A very important type of survey is the questionnaire. A questionnaire is a set of questions that people respond to. The answers are collected by a researcher who organizes the data and reports on the results. Not only do questionnaires have a wide variety of purposes, they also can be done in many ways - including over the telephone, by mail, in person, or online.

9 How do Online Questionnaires Work?
An online questionnaire is a group of questions published on the Web by a researcher The respondent (or, person who responds to the questions) does not need to use any special software or plugins Once the researcher writes the survey in an online survey writer (like, their questionnaire is given a URL (or, Web address) The researcher gives the URL to any respondent who wants to fill out the questionnaire.

10 How is the Data Collected?
As respondents post their answers, the online survey writing program collects the data and creates summary reports. This information is stored in the researcher’s personal online account.

11 How is the Data Organised?
1 3 2 After the data has been collected, but before it is presented, a researcher must organize it so that it makes sense. Using a spreadsheet program (like Excel), the data is entered as a chart. The graph tool is selected, and the researcher chooses the best graph for the data. (Sadly, Excel does not create pictograms. You’d have to draw your own by hand or in a graphics program). The graph is created, and may be copied to a document program (like Word), a presentation program (like Powerpoint), or any other program.

12 How is the Data Presented?
Researchers often find that their data is most easily understood when they present it in numbers, pictures, and words. Survey data is often presented in person (during a lecture, or speech) or in writing (in a magazine or newspaper article). The charts and graphs that the researcher created are often used in the presentation of survey data. Charts and graphs help the audience make sense of the data. How is the Data Presented?

13 Advantages and Disadvantages
Surveys collect opinions and facts that help researchers understand the population that they are studying. Surveys help researchers collect information from large numbers of people. This information can usually be collected very quickly and for very little (or no) money. Surveys can be done in many different ways: In person (orally or on paper), or from a distance (by mail, over the phone, or on the Internet) People don’t mind doing surveys because it makes them feel like their opinions are important. For this reason, they are usually honest in their answers. Disadvantages Once respondents start taking the survey, the researcher cannot change the questions (even if some of the questions are poorly written). If a question was changed during the survey, it would be impossible to compare all of the answers properly. Many respondents have to complete the same survey so that the data can be organized. Sometimes it is hard for researchers to find enough respondents to answer their questions. For this reason, sometimes researchers offer a small gift to people who complete their surveys. This adds to the cost of creating the survey. Surveys don’t consider how respondents are feeling while they answer the questions. If a respondent is very happy or very grumpy, their mood may effect their answers.

14 Criteria for Evaluating Secondary Data
Specifications: Methodology Used to Collect the Data Error: Accuracy of the Data Currency: When the Data Were Collected Objective(s): The Purpose for Which the Data Were Collected Nature: The Content of the Data Dependability: Overall, How Dependable Are the Data?  

15 Example 1 – Internal Secondary Data:
Department Store Project Sales were analyzed to obtain: Sales by product line Sales by major department (e.g., men's wear, house wares) Sales by specific stores Sales by geographical region Sales by cash versus credit purchases Sales in specific time periods Sales by size of purchase Sales trends in many of these classifications were also examined. Example 2 – Individuals/Households: Demographic Data - Identification (name, address, telephone) Sex Marital status Names of family members Age (including ages of family members) Income Occupation Number of children present Home ownership Length of residence

16 Surveys and Questionnaires
Name:____________________ Class:____________________ Date:____________________ Instructions: Print this page if it has not already been printed for you. As you read through the pages of this presentation, answer the questions below. When you have completed all of the answers, hand this sheet in to Ms. Bromley. Slide # 3 – Important Words Use one of those awesome words in a sentence. ____________________________________________________________________ Slide # 4 – What is a Survey? Explain the word ‘sample’. Slide # 5 – What is a Questionnaire? What four ways are questionnaires usually filled out? Slide # 6 – How do Online Questionnaires Work? How do respondents get to the online questionnaire? Slide # 7 – How is the Data Collected? What collects the data? Slide # 8 – How is the Data Organized? I want to make a pictogram. How do I do it? Slide # 9 – How is the Data Presented? Why do researchers use charts and graphs? Slide # 10 – Advantages and Disadvantages Do you think questionnaires are useful? Why or why not?

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