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SOAN 2120 Mar.16.docx

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

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Survey Research
-used often as mode of observation
-select a sample of respondents and give them a standardized questionnaire
-used for descriptive, explanatory and exploratory purposes
-best method for collecting original data for describing a population too large to observe directly
-questionnaire has questions that are all related to what your studying
-must administer survey to individuals who have information you are looking for [looking at divorces;
give survey to divorced ppl]
-but you want to keep it as random as possible while choosing sample
Surveys Ask About:
-behaviour [how often do you study? Where do you study? Etc.]
-attitudes, beliefs, opinions [what kind of job you think they mayor is doing? Do you think other ppl say
negative things about you when you aren’t around? Etc.]
-characteristics [are you married? Single? Do you belong to a union? How old are you? Etc.]
-expectations [do you plan to buy a new car? How much schooling do you think your child will get? Etc.]
-self-classification [do you consider yourself to be liberal/conservative? Etc.]
-knowledge [who was elected mayor in the last election? Etc.]
Introductory Tips
-make items clear
-concise, precise and unambiguous language
-closed-ended questions should be mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive
-begin w/an easy and interesting question
-save most threatening questions for later
-keep an order of questions that will maintain the respondent’s interest
-questionnaires should be spread out and uncluttered
-questionnaires should contain clear instructions and introductory comments where appropriate
-pre-test questionnaires in order to protect against errors
Guidelines for Survey Questions
-choose appropriate question forms [should you use open-ended, closed ended, multiple choice etc.]
-avoid jargon, slang and abbreviations
-avoid ambiguity, confusion and vagueness
-avoid emotional language and prestige bias [are you in favour of allowing doctors help kill patients?]
-avoid double-barreled questions [are you against abortion and assistance suicide?]
-avoid leaning questions [did you fulfil your civic duty in voting in the last election?]
-respondents must be competent to answer [ppl must have a fair chance at giving a correct answer]
-respondents must be willing to answer
-questions should be relevant
-short items are best
-avoid negative items [do you agree with those who oppose the legislation for legalizing marijuana?]
-avoid bias items and terms
-use more than 1 question if necessary
Questionnaire Construction
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