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Lecture 5

PSYB01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Everyman, Drug Rehabilitation, Nato

Course Code
Connie Boudens

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Lecture 5
Lecture Outline: Surveys and Questionnaires
Survey vs. Questionnaire
o Usually done on a large scale
o Attempt to get a representative sample of the population
o Trying to figure out what a large group of people think about a particular thing or
intends to do about a particular thing
o Ex: if you wanted to get some information about what students at UTSC think about a
new program/new registration/new building for this survey population = students at
o Instrument used to conduct a survey
o You do a survey with a questionnaire
o Sometimes questionnaires are used to collect smaller sets of data Ex: sometimes you’ll
use something that resemble a questionnaire or questionnaire like items as a part of
research you’re doing in a lab such as in an experiment/questionnaire based research in
a lab study or a smaller scale study within the context of a research project
You’re not trying to collect information representative of an entire population,
you’re just trying to get information for the group of participants in the study
Steps in Questionnaire Development
Define objectives
o What is it that you want to find out?
o Do you want to find out peoples’ attitudes towards a particular thing? Do you want to
find out voting intentions? Do you want to find out their purchasing behaviour?
List variables
o Independent variables, dependent variables, background variables
o Background variables something like demographics; anything you’re not directly
o Questionnaire based research often has a number of both independent and dependent
variables a lot of data ends up being included in these studies
o With experiments you don’t usually have that many variables
Operationalize variables as questions
o This is the only way to measure variables in questionnaires
o To measure variables must ask questions
Develop wordings
o In what ways can you ask questions that will you give meaningful answers
Write proposed questions on index cards

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Lecture 5
o Not a requirement but helps order the questions in a good way as you can move the
index cards and play around with them
o The order of questions is really important it can affect the way people answer
questions and if they give you really good information also effects if people leave the
questions blank
o Questionnaires that are not completed by participants have to be thrown away
o With questionnaires you are often giving a lot of them out when you’re doing it in
hardcopy it is expensive and time consuming to distribute them and collect them (a lot
of commitment and energy)
o Because there is so much commitment you need to make sure there is no mistakes,
typos, nothing offensive, bad questions, etc. or anything that’s going to wreck you’re
o Once you send out a survey and you find mistakes afterwards re-doing it will be
challenging because the same people who already filled out the survey with faults will
not be willing to do it again + waste of time and money
o Getting people to participate in research is really difficult a lot of no shows, time
consuming, etc.
o In a pre-test you fill it out yourself and make sure everything is nice and clear, that
there’s no difficult/impossible questions to answer
o Also ask someone who knows a lot about questionnaire design to look it over and ask
some lay people; people who are similar to the people who will eventually be taking
your questionnaire
Do they understand the questions on the questionnaire? Does the question
make sense?
Ask them to critique it, ask them to make notes on questions that are
inapplicable, offensive, don’t make sense, etc.
Make sure the questions have the same meaning to everyone watch out for
words/language that mean a specific thing to you but don’t mean anything to
other people so make sure people understand it in the same way
Have people fill out the questionnaire to see if it actually gives you the
information you want the way that they respond is it the information you
How long did it take them to fill it out? so that you can indicate to people how
long it’ll take them to fill it out and how much time they have to commitment
People will often quit the survey if it takes longer than the time you indicated
Shorten List
o Reduce it to the questions you actually need and keep it as short as you can
o In your pre-test participants can you tell which questions they think are redundant
Refine questions
o Based on pre-test critiques

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Lecture 5
Putting the Questionnaire Together
Decide what order the questions go in
Generally start off with a introduction tells a person what the questionnaire is about and how
long it’ll take, if it’s for a research project it should include information about the principal
investigator and contact information to learn more about the project
Questionnaires generally start off with really easy questions question that don’t require a lot
of thought, non-invasive, non-threatening BUT not demographics
Ex: in a survey about the sports complex on campus and feelings towards it easy question
“Have you heard about this sports complex that’s opening?” if not provide some general
information about it and then get more into the survey
Demographic questions always come at the end such as sex, age, years of education, income,
Open-ended questions ½ way 2/3 ways through the questionnaire
Types of Questions don’t need all types on one questionnaire
o Just ask if a certain thing applies or doesn’t apply to the respondent
o Ex: have you ever dated anyone that you met at a club?
o AKA Yes/no questions
o AKA Dichotomous choice questions
o Give you a list of options and respondents have to choose the one that applies
o Options have to be mutually exclusive write the options so that a person can’t pick
more than one option at a time only one thing should apply
o List should be exhaustive should include all of the possible response options & if it
doesn’t have the last option be ‘other’ and ask respondent to fill it in
o What year are you in university? Options = 1, 2, 3 ,4
What’s missing? A lot of people take more than 4 years to finish university now,
so should include 5th year or other
Or divide options by credits
In States should use options freshman, sophomore, junior, senior; all depends
on populations
Need to know what categories are useful for the population you’re studying
o How much you agree or disagree with something
o How much you like or dislike something
o On a continuous scale
o It’s on a 5 point, 7 point, or 9 point scale
o Set up as a horizontal line either circle how much you agree or disagree
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