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Asking Questions. Questionnaire Design Sudman & Bradburn (1988). Question Wording. Question wording is a crucial element in maximizing the validity of survey data obtained by a questionnaire. Small changes in wording can cause huge differences in perception.

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asking questions

Asking Questions

Questionnaire Design

Sudman & Bradburn (1988)

question wording
Question Wording
  • Question wording is a crucial element in maximizing the validity of survey data obtained by a questionnaire.
  • Small changes in wording can cause huge differences in perception.
    • Whether smoke and pray at the same time is a sin:
      • Smoking while praying
      • Praying while smoking

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ethical principles in question asking
Ethical Principles in Question Asking
  • Three principles:
    • the right of privacy
      • Individuals’ control of the data about themselves
      • Individuals’ right to not to disclose information if they do not wish to.
    • informed consent
      • Individuals should be informed what, why being asked, how data will be used
    • Confidentiality
      • Norm may vary from situation to situation

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ethical principles in question asking1
Ethical Principles in Question Asking
  • Inform the general purpose and scope of the survey
  • Explain the general content of the questions
  • Answer the questions about the use of the survey data
  • Whether data to what degree will be held confidentially

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research questions vs o ther questions
Research Questions vs. Other questions
  • In questionnaire design, we must distinguish between research questions and other questions
  • Research question defines the purposes of the study, and decision will be made later on
    • American public on gun control
  • Research question can be illustrated as a set of specific questions which help clarify the research question
  • Why am I asking this question?, So each question should be closely related to the research question

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looking at other examples
Looking at other examples
  • New York Times Poll
  • The Gallup Poll
  • General Social Surveys
  • Index to International Public Opinion
  • Measures of Political Attitudes
  • Measures of Social Psychological Attitudes
  • Survey data for Trend analysis

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asking questions1
Asking questions
  • Do you happen to jog, or not? vs. Do you jog?
    • Happen to: is intended to reduce or eliminate possible biases caused by socially desirable answers
    • Or not: to give equal weight to both the positive and negative answer

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asking questions2
Asking questions
  • Using aided recall
    • If the question is memory based, it is better to provide a list of actions
    • When the list is too long, the order of the list becomes important
    • For example: do you happen to have read any magazines in the past two weeks, or not?
  • Making question specific
    • What brand of soft drink do you usually buy? Vs. Do you happen to drink Coca-Cola at work last week?
    • Time should be specific: last week, vs. the week of Sept 15?

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using right words
Using right words
  • Using the right words
    • Do you procrastinate?
    • Do you put off until tomorrow that we can do today?
  • Avoiding words with multiple meanings in a context.
    • Problem words: any, fair, just, most, see,

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length of questions
Length of questions
  • Making questions as short as possible
  • But longer questions can provide memory cues and act as a form of aided recall.
  • Example
    • Did you ever drink, even once, wine or champagne?
    • Wines have become increasingly popular in this country over the last few years; by wine, we mean liqueurs, cordials, sherries, and similar drinks, as well as table wines, sparkling wines, and champagne, Did you ever drink, even once, wine or champagne?

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measuring attitudes
Measuring Attitudes
  • The central problem for the measurement of attitude is how to organize the discussion.
  • Lack of clarity, many respondents do not understand your words
  • Example
    • Question: Is it better not to try to plan when to have children, but just to accept them when they come?
    • Answer: Of course, you accept them when they come, you cannot just leave them in the hospital.

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components of attitudes
Components of attitudes
  • Aspects of attitudes
    • Affective or evaluative: like vs. dislike
    • Cognitive: what the respondent knows about the attitude object
    • Action: what the respondent will do with regard to the object of the attitude
  • Different wording may produce different results

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examples
Examples
  • Q1: As you know, we recently switched from standard time to daylight savings time. That means that it now gets light an hour later in the morning than before we switched over. It also means that is now gets dark an hour later in the evening than before we switched over. How do you feel about being on daylight savings time now? Would you say you like it very much, like it somewhat, dislike it somewhat, or dislike it very much?
  • Q2: As you know, the United States Congress put our country back on daylight savings time this winter as part of a two-year experiment to try to save energy. Some people think that we should continue to have daylight savings time all year round- that is, not turn the clocks back at the end of next October. Would you approve or disapprove of remaining on daylight savings time all year round next year, or don’t you care one way or the other?
  • 14% like year-round daylight savings time “very much” disapproved Q2
  • 10% dislike Q1 approved Q2.

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