March 19 - Survey Research What is survey research o...

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March 19, 2008 Survey Research What is survey research? o Subjects fill out surveys o Advantages: Collect data from many people Collect data from many social settings, on different topics Most popular form of social research o Versatility Can enhance understanding of almost every social issue o Efficiency Collect many surveys quickly and at a low cast o Generalizability Survey research is one of the only means available for developing a representative picture Questionnaire development and assessment o A questionnaire is the survey instrument containing the questions for a self- administered survey o Must maintain consistent focus Use questions guided by prior research, theory, experience, or experts in the field o Building on existing instruments Use questions from another study Make sure questions are a good measure of the concept or behaviors you are interested in (valid and reliable) Writing questions o Most surveys contain fixed-choice questions o May also contain open-ended questions o Write clear and meaningful questions Different from conversations – no visual or verbal cues The same questions must be used with many different people Questions must be understood in the same way o Avoid confusing phrasing, such as: Vagueness: refer to a specific time or event Ex. How often do you feel scared when walking alone at night? Negatives and double negatives Ex. Do you disagree that juveniles should not be tried as adults if they commit murder?
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