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Soc 232 Feb 8.doc

4 Pages

Course Code
SOC 232
Stuart Leard

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Sth 232 February 8 2013 1 Coding Open Questions Post-coding  Data are gathered, then themes or categories of behaviour are discerned.  e.g., an open question on the legalization of marijuana might have codes ‘very hostile opposition’, ‘indifferent’, etc.  Each code would then be assigned a number, which would be recorded in a file each time the category is encountered. As opposed to pre-coding  Themes or categories of behaviour are decided upon before the data are gathered.  May be done with fixed-response items (closed questions)  e.g., ‘What is your view on the legalization of marijuana? Are you strongly opposed, opposed, neither opposed nor in favour, in favour, or strongly in favour?’  Each code is assigned a number, which would be recorded in a file where relevant. Coding Open Questions  Basic principles:  The categories must not overlap.  The list of categories must be exhaustive.  Must cover all possibilities.  ‘Other’ category is usually required.  Coders should be provided with a ‘coding frame’ or ‘coding manual’ that establishes clear rules about how codes should be applied. Closed Questions  Advantages ◦ Easy to process answers ◦ Standardization allows comparison of answers ◦ Fixed responses may help clarify what the question means ◦ Easier and quicker for the respondent to complete ◦ Reduced bias in recording answers ◦ No interpretation required by researcher  Disadvantages ◦ Loss of spontaneity and authenticity because relevant answers may be excluded from the choices provided. ◦ Use open questions to generate the categories. ◦ ‘Other’ category with open area to elaborate. ◦ Categories cannot overlap. Sth 232 February 8 2013 2 ◦ Pre-test to establish appropriate and distinct categories. ◦ Difficult to make forced-choice answers exhaustive ◦ Pre-test to identify appropriate categories. ◦ ‘Other’ category can be used as a solution. ◦ Respondents may differ in their interpretation of the wording of fixed responses. ◦ e.g., the meaning of the word “soon.” ◦ Respondents may not find a fixed response that they feel applies to them. ◦ Large numbers of closed questions can reduce rapport in interviews but may be appreciated after several open questions. Types of Questions  Personal factual questions ◦ e.g., age, occupation, number of cars owned.  Factual questions about others ◦ Can be problematic due to limited knowledge, biases, etc. ◦ Questions about perceptions of other are acceptable.  Factual questions about an entity or event ◦ e.g., accounts of a political demonstration. ◦ Can be problematic because most people do not observe or remember systematically.  Questions about attitudes ◦ Very common ◦ use of Likert scales  Questions about beliefs ◦ e.g. the existence of God  Questions about knowledge ◦ Used to ‘test’ respondents’ knowledge ◦ e.g. ‘Who was the first prime minister of Canada?’ The distinction between question types helps to clarify what you’re asking; prevent the use of a format that is inappropriate for the concept (e.g. a Likert scale for a factual question about behaviour); avoid mixing different types of questions in a single scale and thereby reducing measurement validity. General Rules for Designing Questions
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