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Textbook/Lecture SlidesChapter 7: Surveys1
WHO CONDUCTS SURVEY
•Surveys are a important method of studying behavior.
•They are usually large-scale.
•Surveys provide us with a methodology for asking people to tell us about themselves.
•Surveys are important way for researchers to study relationships among variables and
ways that attitudes and behaviors change overtime.
•Surveys Can be used together with experimental research to generate better findings.
•We assume that people are willing and able to provide truthful and accurate answers.
•Response set: tendency to respond to all questions from a particular perspective rather
than to provide answers that are directly related to the questions. (faking good or social
desirability ? leads the individual to answer in the most socially acceptable way.
•People are more likely to lie if they do not trust the researcher.
CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONS TO ASK
Defining the Research Objectives
•research objective must be determined from the start, and only ask questions that are
related to the pic.
Types of Questions
•Attitudes and Beliefs: How do people evaluate and think about issues.
•Presence-Absence: Respondents check off which items in a list do or do not apply to
them. (Yes or No)
•Single-Choice: ask respondents to indicate which one category applies.
•Likert-Type Questions: how much they agree or disagree with a statement on a 5/7 point
Always strongly agree on the right side with at least a 5 point scale, could be 5,7,9.
Avoid negatives that can confused respondents.
Vary strength of wording to produce variation in response.
•Rank-ordering Questions: Ask respondents to order/rank items.
•Facts and Demographics: Factual questions ask people to indicate things they know
about themselves and their situation. Questions like age, ethnicity, gender, employment
•Behaviors: past behaviors or intended future behaviors. (How many times last week did
you exercise? How many children are you planning to have?)
•Simplicity: questions asked in a survey should be relatively simple.
•Double-barreled questions: avoid asking two things at once. Because it taps two
potentially different attitudes.
•Loaded Questions: A loaded question is written to lead people to respond in one way.
(Do you favor eliminating the wasteful excesses in the public school budget? vs Do you
favor reducing the public school budge?)
Questions shouldn't include emotionally charged words such as rape, waste, immoral,
Textbook/Lecture SlidesChapter 7: Surveys2
ungodly, or dangerous.
Negative Wording: Avoid phrasing questions with negatives.
•Social desirability, threatening questions: people generally have a desire to present a
“did you steal as a child?” vs “most people haven stolen something when they were
children. Did you ever steal as a child?”
1. The causal Technique: do you mind if I ask you if you have ever murdered...?
2. The numbered card technique: Would you read the number on the card that
corresponds to what happened to your wife? (1.natural death, 2.I killed her, 3.other)
3. The kinsey technique: emphasizes the continuity of the gradations between always
and never murdered wives / husbands.
•Yea-saying and Nay-saying: the respondent might employ a response set to agree or
disagree with all the questions ? which means that the respondent may just be agreeing
with w/e you say. (Thus ask questions with both positive and negative influences)
•QUAID (Question Understanding Aid) an online analysis of question wording.
RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
Closed- Versus Open-Ended Questions
•Close-ended: a limited number of response alternatives are given (multiple choice).
•Open-ended: respondents are free to answer in any way they like (short answer).
•Closed-ended question is a more structured approach. They're used when dimensions of
the variables are well defined.
•Open-ended questions are useful when we need to know what people are thinking about
and how they naturally view the world.
•Minimize open-ended questions because they are time consuming, generate inconsistent
responses, left blank.
Number of Response Alternatives
•Simplest scale presents people with 5 or 7 response alternatives with the endpoints on the
scale labeled to define the extremes.
Graphic Rating Scale
•Requires a mark along a continuous 100-mm line that is anchored with descriptions at
•A ruler is then placed on the line to obtain the score on a scale that ranges from 0-100.
Semantic Differential Scale
•Measure of the meaning of concepts (persons, objects, behaviors, ideas) on a series of
bipolar adjectives using 7-point scales.
•The concepts are rated along three basic dimensions: 1) evaluation (adjectives such as
good-bad, wise-foolish, kind-cruel); 2) activity (active-passive, slow-fast, excitable-calm);
3) potency (weak-strong, hard-soft, large-small).
Nonverbal Scale for Children