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Developing a Questionnaire. Chapter 4. Types of Questions. Open-ended high validity, low manipulative quality Closed-ended low validity, high manipulative quality. Open-ended. An open-ended question is one in which you do not provide any standard answers to choose from.

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types of questions
Types of Questions
  • Open-ended
    • high validity, low manipulative quality
  • Closed-ended
    • low validity, high manipulative quality
open ended
  • An open-ended question is one in which you do not provide any standard answers to choose from.
    • How old are you? ______ years.
    • What do you like best about your job?
closed ended
  • A closed-ended question is one in which you provide the response categories, and the respondent just chooses one:

What do you like best about your job?(a) The people(b) The diversity of skills you need to do it(c) The pay and/or benefits(d) Other: ______________________________

dichotomous questions
Dichotomous Questions
  • Dichotomous Question: a question that has two possible responses
    • Could be
      • Yes/No
      • True/False
      • Agree/Disagree
questions based on level of measurement
Questions based on Level of Measurement
  • Use a nominal question to measure a variable
    • Assign a number next to each response that has no meaning; simply a placeholder.
  • Use an ordinal question to measure a variable
    • Rank order preferences
    • More than 5 – 10 items is difficult
    • Does not measure intensity
interval level
Interval Level
  • Attempt to measure on an intervallevel
    • Likert response scale: ask an opinion question on a 1-to-5, 1-to-7, etc. bipolar scale
      • Bipolar: has a neutral point and scale ends are at opposite positions of the opinion
    • Semantic differential: an object is assessed by the respondent on a set of bipolar adjective pairs
    • Guttman scale: respondent checks each item with which they agree; constructed as cumulative, so if you agree to one, you probably agree to all of the ones above it in the list
filter contingency questions
Filter/Contingency Questions
  • To determine if a respondent is ‘qualified’ to answer questions, might need a filter or contingency question (also known as knowledge)
    • Limit # of jumps
    • If only two levels, use graphic to jump
    • If you can't fit the response to a filter on a single page, it's probably best to be send them to a page, rather than a question #
how many steps in the response scale
How many steps in the response scale?
  • Statistical reliability of the data increases sharply with the number of scale steps up to about 7 steps
    • After 7, it increases slowly, leveling off around 11
    • After 20, it decreases sharply
should there be a middle category
Should there be a middle category?
  • Does it make sense to offer it?
  • Should not be used as the “don’t know or no opinion” option.
    • The middle option is usually placed between the positive and negative responses.
    • Sometimes it’s last in an interview.
direct magnitude scaling
Direct Magnitude Scaling
  • Method of obtaining ratio-scaled data
    • Idea is to give respondents an anchor point, and then ask them to answer questions relative to that
  • Example:
    • Suppose you are interested in the severity of crimes.
      • Begin by assigning a number to one crime and then have respondents assign numbers to the others based upon a ratio.
filtering don t know
Filtering "Don't Know"
  • Standard format
    • No "don't know" option is presented to the respondent, but is recorded if the respondent volunteers it.
  • Quasi filter
    • A "don't know" option is included among the possible responses.
  • Full filter
    • First the respondent is asked if they have an opinion. If yes, the question is asked.
question placement
Question Placement
  • It's a good idea to put difficult, embarrassing or threatening questions towards the end
    • More likely to answer.
    • If they get mad and quit, at least you've gotten most of your questions asked!
  • Put related questions together to avoid giving the impression of lack of meticulousness
  • Watch out for questions that influence the answers to other questions.
wording of questions
Wording of Questions
  • Direction of Statements
    • Response bias
    • Socially desirable
  • Always and never
    • Avoid this
    • Better to phrase as ‘most’, ‘infrequently’
  • Language
    • Reflect educational level and reading ability
    • Need for various languages
frequency and quantity
Frequency and Quantity
  • Consider both frequency and quantity
    • Consider number of times
    • Consider duration of times
mutually exclusive and exhaustive
Mutually Exclusive and Exhaustive
  • Mutually exclusive: not possible to select more than one category/value
  • Exhaustive: providing all possible categories/values
forced choice
Forced Choice
  • Choose between 2 choices
    • Might not be relevant
    • Other choices exist (or at least possible)
    • Lesser of two evils
recalling behavior
Recalling Behavior
  • Can be difficult to remember
  • Ask questions that can be answered
  • Choose time frames that are reasonable
  • Pilot test for time frame issues
response bias
Response Bias
  • Exaggerating the truth
  • Socially desirable answers
  • Consider using ‘trap’ questions
    • Possibly fictional choice
sensitive items
Sensitive Items
  • More comfortable answering in categories
    • Minimize missing data
    • Might loose statistical power
evaluating questions
Evaluating Questions
  • Pre-testing
  • Cognitive interviewing
  • Behavior coding
  • Peer review
  • Peer review has shown to be the best method but it’s the least used. 
validity and reliability questions
Validity and Reliability Questions
  • Evaluative strategies:
    • Analysis of data to evaluate the strength of predictable relationships among answers and with other characteristics of respondents.
    • Comparisons of data from alternatively worded questions asked of comparable samples.
    • Comparison of answers against records.
    • Measuring the consistency of answers of the same respondents at two points in time.
coding the questionnaire
Coding the Questionnaire
  • Create a codebook: reference guide for the data set
  • Code: assigning a value to a response category
    • Often numeric code
    • Pre-coding makes it easier
    • Content analysis on open-ended items
    • Yes/No often coded as present or not (0 or 1)
missing responses
Missing Responses
  • Why blank?
    • Missed them
    • Refusal to answer
    • Didn’t feel it applied
    • Didn’t know the answer
  • To code or not
    • Analyze the difference
    • If know why, might consider
piloting the questionnaire
Piloting the Questionnaire
  • Test it on yourself
    • Possibly other experts
  • Test on people similar to sample
    • Don’t reuse (some exceptions)
  • Discuss the survey with individuals
    • During completion or After
finding respondents
Finding Respondents
  • Best Methods of Selection
  • Even with a good survey, poorly chosen sample leads to poor results