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Chapter 7

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PSYC 2360
Carol Anne Hendry

Chapter 7 Asking People about themselves: Survey Research - Employs questionnaires and interviews to ask people to provide info about themselves- their attitudes and beliefs, demographics and other facts, or past or intended future behaviours Who Conducts Surveys? - Surveys provide us with a methodology of asking people to tell us about themselves - In basic research many important variables such as attitudes, current emotional states, and self reports of behaviours are most easily studied using questionnaires or interviews - Survey is a snapshot of how people think and behave at a given point - Also good for studying things over time - Also important complement to experimental research findings - An assumption that underlies the use of questionnaires and interviews is that people are willing and able to provide truthful and accurate answers o Researchers address this issue by studying the possible biases in the way people respond o Responsive 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  Can affect the usefulness of data obtained from self-reports  Social desirability  People are most likely to lie when they don’t trust the researcher  If the researcher openly and honestly communicates the purpose and uses the research, promises to provide feedback about the results, and assures confidentiality then the participants can reasonably be expected to give honest responses Constructing Questions to Ask Defining the Research Question - Must determine research objectives o What is it that they wish to know - Questions must relate to research question - Depends on type of question o Three types - Attitudes and beliefs o The ways people evaluate and think about issues - Facts and demographics o Factual questions ask people to indicate things they know about themselves and their situations o Necessary to describe sample o Other factual info will depend on the topic of your survey - Behaviours o Past or intended future behaviours Question Wording - Many of the problems with wording stem from a difficulty with understanding the question o Unfamiliar technical term o Vague or imprecise terms o Ungrammatical sentence structure o Phrasing overloads working memory o Embedding the question with misleading information - Simplicity o Relatively simple questions o Avoid jargon and technical terms o Might need to make a question more complex to make it easier to understand  Defining a term - Double-Barreled Questions o Ask two things at once  Avoid this - Loaded Questions o Written to lead people to respond one way o Emotionally charged words such as rape, waste, immoral, ungodly, dangerous may influence the way that people respond and thus leading to biased conclusions - Negative Wording o Avoid phrasing questions with negatives  Do you feel that the city should not approve the proposed women’s shelter  Confusing - Yes saying and Nay saying o When you ask several questions about a topic and the respondent employs a set to agree or disagree with all the questions  Yea-saying  Nay-saying o Put questions in reverse and front order ( positive and negative) that way if they are agreeing with both equally they are nay or yea saying  I feel isolated from others  I feel part of a group with friends - QUAID – analyzes the question wording Responses to Questions Closed- Versus Open-Ended Questions - Closed ended- there are a limited number of response alternatives - Open ended o Respondents answer any way they like - Close ended = more structured - Open ended you need to code and categorize o More time costly o More valuable when a researcher needs to know about a person’s insights , what they are thinking, and how they naturally view the world - Close ended o When dimensions of variable are well defined - Two approaches can have different results o Need to really know topic for close ended Number of Response Alternatives - Yes no or scale Rating scales - Many different formats - Graphic rating Scale o Requires a mark along a continuous 100 mm line that is anchored with descriptions at the end o Ruler used and score on scale from 0 – 100 - Semantic Differential Scale o Measurement of the meaning of concepts o Rate any concept on a series of bipolar adjectives using 7-point scale o Virtually anything can be used to measure this o Concepts are rated among 3 basic dimensions  Evaluation  Good- bad  Activity  Active- passive  Slow- fast  Excitable-calm  Potency  Weak- strong  Hard- soft  Large-small - Nonverbal Scale for Children o Smiley face Labeling Response Alternatives - Strongly agree - Agree - Undecided - Disagree - Strongly disagree - Just more specifics scales - People interrupt the scales differently depending on the labels used - High freq and low freq scale – week or month exercise Finalizing the Questionnaire Formatting the Questionnaire - Attractive - Professional - Neatly typed - No spelling errors - Should be easy to indentify questions and alternatives - Enough space between questions - If you have a scale format use it consistently o Don’t switch from 5 point to 7 point - Sequence of questions o Most interesting/important questions first  Captures attention and motivates - Do good = take you more seriously Refining Question - Give questions to small group and make them think aloud when answering them - Could be colleges/friends - Ask how they interpret and how they respond Administering Surveys - Two ways o Written questionnaire o Interview Questionnaires - Positive features o Less money than interviews o Completely anonymous - Negative o Have to be able to read and understand questions o Can be boring - Administered o In persons o Mail o Internet o Other technologies - Personal Administration to Groups or Individuals o You have a captive audience – this is good o Researcher can answer questions - Mail Surveys o Inexpensive o Low response rates though o Even if people start to fill it out, something may distract them or they will get bored and throw it out o Person may be confused or have a q - Internet surveys o Easy to design o Both open and closed can be used o Immediately sent to researcher o But how do you sample people?  Peo
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