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Lecture Notes Mar. 13 & 15.docx

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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

Lecture Notes Wed. Mar. 13 2013 Survey Research Surveys -used often as a 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 -find an informant to answer he questions you have, that can answer your questions for you -surveys are quick, interviews on the phone, web surveys or over the mail whereas an experiment takes long, you have to set up and do the experiment -surveys have a lot more data in a time period whereas experiments have less data in the same time Surveys ask about: -behavior -attitudes/beliefs/opinions e.g. how your Gov. is doing -characteristics e.g. stuff that describes the individuals -expectations e.g. child education expectation, expectation of a new vehicle -self-classification e.g. -knowledge e.g. who was elected mayor in the last election? Questions you can ask about people’s knowledge A few introductory tips: -make items clear -concise, precise, and unambiguous language -closed ended questions should be mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive -begin with easy and interesting questions -save most threatening questions for later -keep an order of questions that will maintain the respondents interest -pretest questions ahead of time to protect against errors -questionnaires should be spread out and uncluttered -questionnaires should contain clear instructions and introductory comments where appropriate Open vs. closed-ended questions -open-ended: respondent is asked to provide her/his own answer to a question e.g. by filling in a blank -ppl may or may not answer the question, you may get information that is not useful to your study -closed ended: respondent is asked to select an answer from a list provided by the researcher -how you order the questions on the survey can influence how they are snwered Guidelines for survey questions: -choose appropriate question forms -avoid the use of jargon, slang and abbreviations -use as formal language as possible to be clear -avoid ambiguity, confusion and vagueness e.g. Are you a regular coffee drinker? What does regular mean though? -avoid emotional language and prestige bias e.g. Are you in favor of doctors killing their patients? Versus assisted suicide -avoid double-barreled questions e.g. Are you against abortion AND assisted suicide? –if you have AND in your question really consider why it is there -avoid leading questions e.g. did you fulfill you civic duty and vote in the last election? -respondents must be competent to answer? e.g. How many times did you smile in the last month? –impossible to answer!, how do we know, also may not be relevant to the respondents -respondents must be willing to answer -questions should be relevant -short items are best -avoid negative items (double negatives) e.g. do you disagree with those who oppose marijuana use? -avoid biased items and terms -use more than 1 question it necessary Questionnaire Construction -general questionnaire format -one question on one line, you can cause ppl to miss questions if you have more than one -formats for respondents -contingency questions -questions specific to gender e.g. if you answered male do not answer questions 2, 3 so that mend o not waste time answering female questions -matrix questions -agree, disagree, a list -can cause problems b/c ppl will just check the same answer all the way down -negative question can be useful in making ppl think about their answers better -ordering items in a questionnaire -all the boring questions at the beginning? No b/c/ they will stop answering form boredom -protest the questionnaire Contingency Question e.g. 23. Have you ever smoke maajuauna? Yes or no? -if yes then they answer: once, 2-5 times, 6-10 times…etc. -if you answer no the above does not appear on the survey Structured Questions -single response items eg. -in what year were you born? _______ -what is your total family income last year before taxes ? ________ -what is your official job tittle in this organization? _______ Categorical Response items e.g. what was you total family income last year? a. less than 10 000 b. 10 000 to 20 000 c. etc. d. etc. -response items must be exhaustive and mutually exclusive Survey Methods -there are four 1. Self- administered survey’s 2. phone survey 3. web survey 4. face-to-face interview Comparison of the Different Survey Methods -self administered questionnaires: -cheaper -quicker -respondents may answer more freely (controversial or deviant attitudes) -more effective for sensitive issues -characteristics of the interviewer will not effect the respondents -more time to think about answers -keep track of who has filled one out -when mailing process is done, you want to dissociate who filled out the survey with the survey answers ASAP -you should hope to get at least 50% of your surveys back that you send out (the problem with this is you can introduce bias, who is the type of person that did not want to respond? -interview surveys -produce fewer questionnaires -ensure respondents do not skip question -more effective for complicated issues -higher response rate -highest cost or survey, have to train interviewers, take time to travel etc. -careful of the dress of the interviewer to not effect subjects -telephone surveys -time -money, moderate cost b/c you have to train interviews -impact of interviews on responses is lessened -limited to the population with phones -limited to those in the phone book -negative influence from telemarketers towards phone surveys -ppl hang up or call scre
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