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Lecture 5

SOCI 2P11 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Visual Analogue Scale, Content Analysis, Sampling Frame

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Dennis Wall

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2P11- Lecture 5
The survey is a flexible research approach used to investigate a wide range of topics
Questionnaire design
All questionnaires should take into account:
· whether the questionnaire will be self-completed
· the literacy level of the respondents
· the expected response rate
· the resources available
· topic and population of interest
Advantages of using a survey
· surveys have internal and external validity
· surveys are efficient
· surveys can cover geographically spread samples
· surveys may have ethical advantages
· surveys are flexible
Limitations of the survey approach
· surveys are dependent upon the chosen sampling frame
· surveys are not so good at explaining why people think or act as they do
· interview surveys are only as good as the interviewers asking the questions
Methods of collecting survey data
i. face-to-face interviews
Main advantages
· the ability to carry out a longer interview on a more complex topic
· a higher response/completion rate
· the ability to use visual aids and prompts

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2P11- Lecture 5
· the opportunity to develop a rapport
· can reach some people that due to disability or socio/economic status may not normally be
Main disadvantages
· labour intensive for large samples
· time consuming
· difficult to contact people at home
· difficult to get honest answers to personal/sensitive questions such as drug-taking, diet, etc
ii. telephone interviews
Main Advantages
· can build rapport
· easier to contact geographically-spread respondents
· may be easier to contact professionals
· can be cheaper and quicker than a face-to-face survey
· high completion rate if person commits to questionnaire
Main Disadvantages
· not appropriate if sampling frame do not all have equal access to a telephone
· sampling frame - even those with a telephone may be ex-directory
· cannot use visual aids
· interview may be impersonal
· interview length is limited
iii. postal questionnaires
Main Advantages
· not labour intensive, possible to mail a large sample, and therefore may be cheaper than
face-to-face or telephone
· gives people the opportunity to answer questions in their own time; they may need to refer
to documents etc.
· useful for a widely distributed sample
Main Disadvantages
· possibly lower response depending on topic and motivation
· usually takes much longer, need to give people sufficient time to reply and send out
· not suitable for people with literacy problems
· cannot guarantee that the person who completed it was the target participant
Response rates for postal questonnaires

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2P11- Lecture 5
Items to include in a Questionnaire
The title
The identifier
Closed questions
A closed question is one where the possible answers are defined in advance and so the
respondent is limited to one of the pre-coded responses given
Open-ended questions
An open-ended question does not constrain possible responses.
Partial pre-coding
An example of an open-ended question with partial pre-coding:
“What do you think is the cause of your asthma?”
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