Survey methodology survey instruments 2
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Survey Methodology Survey Instruments (2). EPID 626 Lecture 8. Reference. Most elements for this lecture were taken from : Mangione, Thomas. Mail Surveys: Improving the Quality . Applied Social Research Methods Series, Vol 40. Sage Publications, 1995.

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Survey methodology survey instruments 2

Survey MethodologySurvey Instruments (2)

EPID 626

Lecture 8


Reference

Reference

  • Most elements for this lecture were taken from :Mangione, Thomas. Mail Surveys: Improving the Quality. Applied Social Research Methods Series, Vol 40. Sage Publications, 1995.

    • Chapter 2, The Basics of Question Design


Open ended questions

Open-ended questions

  • Short, specific

    • What is your current age?

  • Long, narrative

    • Why did you choose to come to this clinic?

  • Problems:

    • Illegible handwriting

    • Inappropriate detail

  • Usually avoid-the rest of the lecture is devoted to closed-ended questions


Yes no and checklist questions

Yes/No and checklist questions

  • Yes/No

  • Checklist

    • From a list of alternatives, check those that apply

    • Problematic because you can’t distinguish a “No” from a skip

    • Yes/No may be better because it forces thought


Multiple choice questions

Multiple-choice questions

  • Response alternatives should be mutually exclusive and exhaustive

  • Think about whether you want respondents to just check one response or to be able to check multiple responses

    • Multiple responses may complicate analysis

    • Think about presenting alternatives as a checklist


Multiple choice questions 2

Multiple-choice questions (2)

  • Include “Other” as an alternative?

    • What does it tell you?

      • About the respondent?

      • About your question?

    • Use open-ended “Specify”________

    • May be useful during pretesting or if you are planning on revising the survey instrument


Semantic differential questions

Semantic differential questions

  • Two opposite adjectives at the ends

    Best Worst

    1 2 34567

  • Sometimes ask the question for two scenarios, ex: current situation and ideal situation, and look at the differential


Ranking questions

Ranking questions

  • Present alternatives and ask respondents to rank them

    • Ex: rank from the most important to the least important

  • Think about whether you want to allow tie rankings

    • How will that affect your analysis?


Two common formats

1

__ Eating fruit

__ Exercising

__ Meditating

__ Being happy

__ Sleeping enough

2

Eating fruit 1 2 3 4 5

Exercising 1 2 3 4 5

Meditating 1 2 3 4 5

Being happy 1 2 3 4 5

Sleep enough 1 2 3 4 5

Two common formats

Number 2 is usually preferable. Why?


Rating scales

Rating Scales

  • Present a respondent with a question or statement and a range of responses

  • Ex. How would you rate your relationship with your physician?

    Excellent Very good Good Fair Poor


Rating scales 2

Rating scales (2)

  • Likert scale:

    Ex. Patients should have the right to sue Health Maintenance Organizations

    Strongly Agree Unsure Disagree Strongly agree disagree


Rating scales 3

Rating scales (3)

  • Psychological distance

    • Distance between alternatives should be equal

  • Number of response alternatives

    • Usually 3 to 7 are recommended

    • What might affect your choice?

    • Think about your research question

    • Think about the complexity of the issue


Rating scales 4

Rating scales (4)

  • Order of response alternatives

    • Should be monotonically increasing or decreasing

    • Should all be ordered in a column or row

    • Within a survey, may want to mix up increasing and decreasing by section, but never within a section


Rating scales 5

Rating scales (5)

  • Unipolar response alternatives

    • Range from “nothing” to “a great deal”

      Excellent Very good Good Fair Poor

  • Bipolar response alternatives

    • Range from “large negative” through “zero” to “large positive”

      Strongly Disagree Unsure Agree Strongly

      disagree agree


Rating scales 6

Rating scales (6)

  • Odd or even number of alternatives?

    • Odd numbers create a midpoint

      • This midpoint should be a neutral response

      • Many respondents really like midpoints and will use them a lot!!!

    • Even numbers force people to make a decision

    • Depends on your research question


Rating scales 7

Rating scales (7)

  • For very complex, emotional issues, you may want to have 2 middle points

    • Ex. Slightly agree and Slightly disagree

  • Balanced scales

    • Should have equal numbers on either side of neutral

    • Unbalanced scales will lead to bias


  • Rating scales 8

    Rating scales (8)

    • “Don’t know” as an alternative

      • Usually necessary for knowledge questions

      • For attitude questions, “don’t know” usually means “unsure”. Adding more middle categories may be a better solution

      • Sometimes use a screen question then initiate a skip sequence


    Rating scales 9

    Rating scales (9)

    • Example of a screening question:

      1. Are you familiar with the proposed legislation regarding universal healthcare? (circle one)

      Yes Go to question 2.

      No Go to question 17.


    Rating scales 10

    Rating scales (10)

    • Behaviorally anchored scales

      • Objective, quantitative

      • Compare to subjective scales


    Survey methodology survey instruments 2

    Ex: How often do you exercise in a week?

    • Subjective: Often Sometimes Never

    • Behaviorally anchored: 5 times 3-4 times 1-2 times Never

    • Which one to use?

      • Depends on your research question


    General recommendations

    General Recommendations

    • Write brief questions

    • Write clear questions

      • Define ambiguous terms

      • Avoid jargon

      • Avoid double negatives

      • Avoid unclear pronouns

      • For open-ended questions, avoid adverbial constructions such as how, why, when, where


    General recommendations 2

    General Recommendations (2)

    • Be careful with:

      • Intentions

      • Hypotheticals

      • Assumptions: commonplace is not universal

    • Write unidimensional questions

    • Write mutually exclusive and exhaustive response alternatives


    General recommendations 3

    General Recommendations (3)

    • Generally avoid loaded questions

      • Special case for questions that may involve social desirability

      • When might we want to ask loaded questions?


    Survey methodology survey instruments 2

    • “Most people have times when they drink too much and feel tipsy. How often has this happened to you in the last month?”

    • “Most people feel that smoking marijuana is harmful. How do you feel?”

    • “Marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for people with some symptoms of AIDS. How do you feel about legalizing marijuana?”


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