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Questionnaire and Interview as Date-gathering Tools

Questionnaire and Interview as Date-gathering Tools -...

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QUESTIONNAIRE AND INTERVIEW AS DATA-GATHERING TOOLS Questionnaire A questionnaire is a means of eliciting the feelings, beliefs, experiences, perceptions, or attitudes of some sample of individuals. As a data collecting instrument, it could be structured or unstructured. The questionnaire is most frequently a very concise, preplanned set of questions designed to yield specific information to meet a particular need for research information about a pertinent topic. The research information is attained from respondents normally from a related interest area. The dictionary definition gives a clearer definition: A questionnaire is a written or printed form used in gathering information on some subject or subjects consisting of a list of questions to be submitted to one or more persons. Advantages Economy - Expense and time involved in training interviewers and sending them to interview are reduced by using questionnaires. Uniformity of questions - Each respondent receives the same set of questions phrased in exactly the same way. Questionnaires may, therefore, yield data more comparable than information obtained through an interview. Standardization - If the questions are highly structured and the conditions under which they are answered are controlled, then the questionnaire could become standardized. Disadvantages Respondent’s motivation is difficult to assess, affecting the validity of response. Unless a random sampling of returns is obtained, those returned completed may represent biased samples. Factors affecting the percentage of returned questionnaires Length of the questionnaire. Reputation of the sponsoring agency. Complexity of the questions asked. Relative importance of the study as determined by the potential respondent. Extent to which the respondent believes that his responses are important. Quality and design of the questionnaire. Time of year the questionnaires are sent out. The questionnaire is said to be the most "used and abused" method of gathering information by the lazy man. because often it is poorly organized, vaguely worded, and excessively lengthy. Two types of questionnaires
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Closed or restricted form - calls for a "yes" or "no" answer, short response, or item checking; is fairly easy to interpret, tabulate, and summarize. Open or unrestricted form - calls for free response from the respondent; allows for greater depth of response; is difficult to interpret, tabulate, and summarize. Characteristics of a good questionnaire Deals with a significant topic, a topic the respondent will recognize as important enough to justify spending his time in completing. The significance should be clearly stated on the questionnaire or in the accompanying letter. Seeks only that information which cannot be obtained from other sources such as census data.
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