7 - asking people about themselves-survey research

7 - asking people about themselves-survey research - Why...

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Why Conduct Surveys? 23:14 Surveys provide us with a methodology for asking people to tell us about  themselves  Many important variables are most easily studied using questionnaires or  interviews The survey method is an important way for researchers to study relationships  among variables and ways that attitudes and behaviors change over time  Survey research is important as a complement to experimental research findings  An assumption that underlies the use of questionnaires and interviews is that  people are willing and able to provide truthful and accurate answers Response set: A tendency to respond to all questions from a particular  perspective rather than to provide answers that are directly related to the  questions  o Can affect the usefulness of data obtained from self-reports o Social desirability: “Faking good” – Leads the individual to answer in the  most socially acceptable way 
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Constructing Questions to Ask 23:14 Defining the Research Objectives The first thing the researcher must do is explicitly determine the research  objectives  Attitudes and Beliefs o Focus on the ways that people evaluate and think about issues  Facts and Demographics o Ask people to indicate things they know about themselves and their  situation  o Depends on the topic of your survey  Behaviors o Focus on past behaviors or intended future behaviors  Question Wording Cognitive psychologists have identified a number of potential problems with  question wording  o Many of the problems stem from a difficulty with understanding the  question  Simplicity o The questions asked in a survey should be relatively simple  People should be able to easily understand and respond to the  questions  Double-Barreled Questions o Avoid “double-barreled” questions that ask two things at once  Loaded Questions o A loaded question is written to lead people to respond in one way  Negative Wording o Avoid phrasing questions with negatives  “Yes-Saying” and “Nay-Saying” o The possibility that a respondent will employ a response set to agree or  disagree with all the questions  The respondent may in fact be expressing true agreement, but  alternatively may simply be agreeing with anything you say 
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Responses to Questions 23:14 Closed- Versus Open-Ended Questions With closed-ended questions, a limited number of response alternatives are  given; with open-ended questions, respondents are free to answer in any way  they like  Using closed-ended questions is a more structured approach o Open-ended questions require time to categorize and code the responses  and are therefore more costly 
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2010 for the course EDHD 460 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Maryland.

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7 - asking people about themselves-survey research - Why...

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