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Geography 237a Research Methods. Surveys (Babbie Ch. 9). Characteristics Terminology Common problems in questionnaires Types of questionnaires Advantages/Disadvantages. Some Characteristics of Survey Research. typically about patterns or explanation (less so exploration)

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surveys babbie ch 9

Geography 237aResearch Methods

Surveys(Babbie Ch. 9)
  • Characteristics
  • Terminology
  • Common problems in questionnaires
  • Types of questionnaires
  • Advantages/Disadvantages

Geog 237a

some characteristics of survey research
Some Characteristics of Survey Research
  • typically about patterns or explanation (less so exploration)
  • typically nomothetic (less so idiographic)
  • typically large samples (100s or even 1000s)
  • typically UOO is individuals (even if UOA are some aggregation – e.g., survey Mayors and councilors when cities are unit of analysis)

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preliminary terminology
Preliminary Terminology

Questionnaire

  • “instrument”
  • mostly closed-ended questions

Respondent

  • person to whom questionnaire is “administered”
  • predominantly one-way exchange of information

Example

  • Canadian Census questionnaire
  • respondents = 20% of all Canadians

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preliminary terminology1
Preliminary Terminology

Closed-Ended Questions

  • pre-categorized (researcher’s words)
  • simple to numerically code
  • need exhaustive categories
  • need mutually exclusive categories

Open-Ended Questions

  • in respondents’ words
  • useful detail for answering “why?”
  • labour intensive to numerically code

Geog 237a

closed ended examples
Closed-Ended Examples

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey

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open ended examples
Open-Ended Examples

Why did you rate your health as _____ in the previous question?

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flash review question
Flash Review Question

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using:

  • open-ended questions;
  • closed-ended questions?

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preliminary terminology2
Preliminary Terminology

Likert Scales

  • common way to “standardize” question format
  • convert statements into questions
  • 4, 5 or 7 point scale
  • “agreement scale” is typical
  • strongly agree…strongly disagree

Geog 237a

5 point likert scale examples
5 Point Likert Scale Examples

Source: General Social Survey

Geog 237a

likert scale examples
Likert Scale Examples

Something about Q219 seem “somewhat wrong”?

Source: General Social Survey

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question
Question
  • What might you use a 4 point scale (no “neutral” response) instead of a 5 point scale?

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common problems in questionnaire development
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Unclear wording

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey 200-20001

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common problems in questionnaire development1
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Multiple items in one question

  • “If Libya now increases its terrorist acts against the UW and we keep inflicting more damage on Libya, then inevitably it will end in the UW going to war and finally invading that country which would be wrong.”

Source: Babbie, 2003 - see text p.247

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common problems in questionnaire development2
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Respondent not competent to answer

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey 200-20001

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common problems in questionnaire development3
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Respondent unwilling to answer

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey 200-20001

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Source: General Social Survey

common problems in questionnaire development4
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Questions too long/complicated

Source: General Social Survey 1998

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common problems in questionnaire development5

Source: General Social Survey 1998 (“art” is not irrelevant per se)

Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Questions irrelevant (to respondent)

  • e.g, Tom Sakumoto (Babbie, 1993 248)

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common problems in questionnaire development6
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Negative terms

Which of the following do you not support in relation to AIDS

  • AIDS victims eligible for benefits
  • government pay healthcare costs…

Source: General Social Survey 1998

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common problems in questionnaire development7
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Biased terms

  • way question is asked
  • increase probability that respondents will answer a certain way
  • subtle or overt
  • e.g, Don’t you agree that communism is a good form of political-economy? (biased)
  • To what extent to you agree that each of the following are good forms of government (matrix):
    • communism
    • anarchism
    • capitalism

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common problems in questionnaire development8
Common Problems in Questionnaire Development

Biased terms

Source: Babbie, 2003 250

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questionnaire development general principles exercise
Questionnaire DevelopmentGeneral PrinciplesExercise:
  • Outline some other principles for good questionnaire construction

Geog 237a

questionnaire development
Questionnaire Development

Contingency Questions

  • questions intended for a subset of sample
  • based on response to earlier question
  • caveat: reduced numbers for statistical/analytical purposes

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questionnaire development1
Questionnaire Development

Contingency Questions

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey 2000-2001

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questionnaire development2
Questionnaire Development

Matrix Questions

  • simplifies
  • same question and response mode for all items
  • easy for respondent

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questionnaire development3
Questionnaire Development

Contingency Questions

Source: General Social Survey

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types of questionnaires exercise
Types of QuestionnairesExercise:

What are the typical ways that questionnaires are “administered”?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

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types of questionnaires web surveys
Types of QuestionnairesWeb Surveys

Web surveys

  • not widely used…
  • why not?
  • example web survey

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surveys advantages disadvantages
Surveys:Advantages/Disadvantages

Advantages

  • large samples
  • strong reliability - standardized
  • statistical analysis

Disadvantages

  • inflexible – researchers’ words
  • miss what is really important
  • too distant from social life
  • weak validity

Geog 237a

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