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final exam notes (19 pages of solid notes)

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

Chapter 7: Asking People About Themselves: Survey Research Why conduct Surveys? The survey method is also an important way for researchers to study relationships among variables and ways that attitudes and behaviours change over time. An assumption that underlies the use of questionnaires and interviews is that people are willing and able to provide truthful and accurate answers. A response set is a tendency to respond to all questions from a particular perspective rather than to provide answers that are directly related to the questions. Most common response set is called social desirability (faking good). Constructing Questions to Ask Defining the Research Objectives there are three general types of survey questions (attitudes and beliefs, facts and demographics, and behaviours) Attitudes and Beliefs focus on the ways that people evaluate and think about issues. Facts and Demographics factual questions ask people to indicate things they know about themselves and their situations. Demographic information include age and gender. Behaviours focus on past behaviours or intended future behaviours. Question Wording problems include unfamiliar technical terms, vague or imprecise terms, ungrammatical sentence structure, phrasing that overloads working memory, embedding the question with misleading information. Simplicity questions that you ask in a survey should be relatively simple Double Barreled Questions avoid double barrelled questions that ask two things at once. Loaded Questions a loaded question is written to lead people to respond in one way. Questions that include emotionally charged words such as rape, waste, immoral, ungodly, or dangerous may influence the way that people respond and thus lead to biased conclusions. Negative wording avoid phrasing questions with negatives Yea-saying and nay-sing when you ask several questions about a topic, there is a possibility that a respondent will employ a response set to agree or disagree with all the questions. Responses to Questions Closed-Versus Open-Ended Questions with closed-ended questions, a limited number of response alternatives are given and with open-ended questions, respondents are free to www.notesolution.comanswer in any way they like. Close ended questions is a more structured approach while open-ended questions require more time to categorize and therefore more costly. Open ended questions are most useful when the researcher needs to know what people are thinking and how they naturally view their world; close ended questions are more likely to be used when the dimensions of the variables are well defined. Number of Response Alternatives with closed-ended questions, there are a fixed number of response alternatives. Rating scales ask people to provide how much judgements on any number of dimensions (amount of agreement, liking, or confidence). Graphic Rating Scale requires a mark along a continuous 100mm line that is anchored with descriptions at each end. Semantic Differential Scale almost anything can be measured using this scale. Allows the concepts to be rated along three basic dimensions (evaluation, activity, and potency) Nonverbal Scale for Children different type of faces for example. Labeling Response Alternatives examples are high frequency and low frequency scales. Finalizing The Questionaire Formatting the Questionnaire it is best to ask the most interesting and important questions first to capture the attention of your respondents and motivate them to complete the survey. Good idea to group questions together when they address a similar theme or topic. Refining Questions something like pilot studies Administering Surveys There are two ways to administer surveys. One is to use a written questionnaire. The other way is to use and interview format. Questionnaires positives generally less costly than interviews, allow the respondent to be completely anonymous as long as no identifying information is asked. Negatives requires that the respondents be able to read and understand the questions, many people find it boring to sit by themselves reading questions and then providing answers and thus a problem of motivation. Personal Administration to Groups or Individuals advantage is that you have a captive audience that is likely to complete the questionnaire once they start it.
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