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How to Write and Interpret Surveys for Student Journalists
 

How to Write and Interpret Surveys for Student Journalists

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Intended for new media and journalism students at Mercer County Community College in Prof. Holly Johnson's classes. The goal of this presentation is to help students learn to craft surveys that yield ...

Intended for new media and journalism students at Mercer County Community College in Prof. Holly Johnson's classes. The goal of this presentation is to help students learn to craft surveys that yield data for new media purposes.

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    How to Write and Interpret Surveys for Student Journalists How to Write and Interpret Surveys for Student Journalists Presentation Transcript

    • Creating Surveys Prof. Holly JohnsonJournalism 1 + 2 + New Media ©2012
    • Purpose of Surveys Surveys and polls provide real-world data that makes information tangible and immediate to readers. Surveys and polls give a preliminary idea of how people stand on particular issues.
    • Survey vs. Poll Polls and surveys are similar but not identical. Polls are essentially quick surveys that focus on one single question (Example: Who are you planning to vote for in the upcoming election?) Surveys include 2 or more questions and are designed to understand more about a person’s views on the topic. Surveys take longer to complete and longer to tabulate results but provide more information about the topic.
    • Problems With SurveysGetting the right sample of the populationAsking the right questionsInterpreting data correctly
    • Sampling Choosing who to poll is also known as “sampling.” The sample size has to be large enough to represent the entire group you wish to know something about The sample group must accurately represent the whole group you wish to know about
    • WHO IS THE SAMPLE GROUP? 1. Survey on the quality of night classes vs. day classes at Mercer. 2. Survey on the student computer lab satisfaction at JKC campus vs. West Windsor campus. 3. Survey of who on campus listens to the Viking radio club network. 4. Survey of student drug use.
    • WHO IS THE SAMPLE GROUP? 1. Survey on the quality of night classes vs. day classes at Mercer. – 30+ students (of varying age, race and gender) who take classes at both times of day 2. Survey on the student computer lab satisfaction at JKC campus vs. West Windsor campus. - 30 computer lab students from JKC 30 computer lab students from WW of varied age, race and gender 3. Survey of who on campus listens to the Viking radio club network. – Survey enough students, faculty and staff on the WW campus to find at least 15 listeners 4. Survey of student drug use. – Survey as many students of varied age, race and gender as possible, including day and night students and students from both campuses
    • Phrasing Questions Sometimes the way a question is worded makes the respondent know that a particular answer is expected (Example: Isn’t it true that the food at Mercer is too greasy?) Sometimes providing certain answers to select from means the respondent is forced to choose one and may not be able to choose the answer that would fit best because it’s not on the list.
    • WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE QUESTIONS? 1. Don’t you think more night classes should be offered at Mercer? Y/N 2. How would you rate your satisfaction with computer lab availability on campus (circle one)? Good Bad 3. How likely are you to listen to Mercer’s Viking radio station (circle all that apply)? Very likely mostly likely likely somewhat likely 4. How often do you use marijuana per week? 5+ times 4+ times 3+ times 2+ times 1+ time
    • Improved questions: 1. How strongly do you agree with the following statement: more night classes should be offered at Mercer? Strongly agree somewhat agree no opinion disagree 2. How would you rate your satisfaction with computer lab availability on campus (circle one)? Excellent Good Satisfactory Below Average Poor 3. How likely are you to listen to Mercer’s Viking radio station (circle all that apply)? Very likely somewhat likely somewhat unlikely unlikely 4. How often do you use marijuana per week? 5+ times 3-4 times 2-3 times 1-2 times 0 times
    • Interpreting Data Statisticians spend a lot of their time figuring out how accurate their data is and what conclusions can be drawn from it. Most polls have a margin of error, which means an amount + or – that it might not be correct. It’s important to recognize that reasonable conclusions are not facts, just reasonable understandings based on the data gathered in the survey.
    • WHAT CONCLUSIONS CAN YOU DRAW? In your survey of campus drug use you found the following results: 15 out of 60 respondents had tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime 31 out of 60 respondents strongly agreed with the statement “pot is safer than cigarettes.” Is it reasonable to conclude that at least 25% of students have had access to illegal drugs in the course of their lifetime? Is it reasonable to conclude that a substantial majority of Mercer students feel pot is safer than cigarettes?
    • Practice What survey questions would you use if you wanted to determine West Windsor campus students’ satisfaction with the parking situation? Who would be your sampling group? What conclusions could you draw from your survey questions?
    • Thank you,thank you very much! EN END