Collecting Research Data withQuestionnaires and InterviewsLongstreet, Walker, & Winters
Questionnaires and Interviews as Data Collection Methods• Questionnaires are printed forms that ask the same questions of all individuals in the sample and for which respondents record their answers in verbal form.• Interviews consist of oral questions asked by the interviewer and oral responses by the research participants.
Selecting a Method to Use• Advantages of Questionnaires include: • The cost of sampling respondents is lower • Less time is involved in collecting data• A major disadvantage of questionnaires is that there no ability to probe respondents regarding their responses.
Selecting a Method to Use• Advantages of Interviews include: • Interviews are adaptable. • Interviewers can follow up with a respondents answer to ask why they believe, feel, or responded accordingly. • Disadvantage: • Time • Cost for training and observation equipment
Steps in Constructing Questionnaires and Interviews Questionnaires Interviews2. Define the Research 2. Define the Purpose of the Objectives Interview3. Select the Sample 3. Select the Sample4. Design the questionnaire 4. Designing the Interview5. Pilot Test the questionnaire Format6. Pre-contacting the Sample 5. Developing Questions6. Write a Cover Letter 6. Selecting and Training7. Follow Up with Non- 7. Pilot-testing respondents 8. Conducting the Interview8. Analyzing the Questionnaire 9. Analyzing Interview Data data
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 1: Define objectives. Consider the following questions: • What is the time frame of your interests? • What is the geographical location of your interests? • Are you interested in a broad descriptive study or do you want specify and compare different subgroups? • What aspect of the topic do you want to study? • How abstract is your interest?
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 2: Selecting a Sample Consideration: • Conduct background analysis on the desired group to ensure they have the desired knowledge of the situation being studied.
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 3: Designing the QuestionnaireConsiderations: • Anonymity of respondents- will respondents be anonymous? Advantage of this type of questionnaire is that you usually get more honest responses. • Item Form- using language that is understood by your respondents. Some words have several meanings, be cautious. • Also, consider whether you will have open or closed form responses. • Use of Questionnaire in the Measurement of Attitudes- the most common approach to measurement of attitudes with questionnaires is to use a Likert scale. • Web Questionnaires- often used to offset costs and can be interactive which respondents often respond well to.
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 4: Pilot-Testing the QuestionnaireConsiderations:• Pilot- testing can allow the respondents to let you know what they liked and did not like about the questionnaire.• In addition, the pilot testing can let you measure the data collected to ensure the questions are measuring your proposed hypotheses.
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 5: Pre-contacting the SampleConsiderations:• Always pre-contact the sample to introduce yourself, the purpose of the study, and ask for participation and cooperation.• Do not send the questionnaire with this letter or postcard.
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research Questionnaire Step 6: Writing a Cover LetterConsiderations:• The cover letter must emphasis the importance of the research.• If you can link the research with a professional organization which the respondents can identify with is recommended.• The cover letter should explain the date the questionnaire is due on or before.• The cover letter should insure confidentiality and discuss any informed consent the study will maintain or disclose.• The cover letter should again thank the participant for their time.
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 7: Following Up with Non-respondentsConsiderations:• Contact those who did not respond• Use a follow-up letter with another questionnaire • Different approach: • Personal letter, postcard, questionnaire--keep importance of study & value of individual’s contribution• Ask yourself: • How would the results differ if all respondents had returned the questionnaire?• More than 20% missing? • Sample may not represent the population to which the findings will be generalized
Steps in Constructing and Administering a Research QuestionnaireStep 8: Analyzing Questionnaire DataConsiderations:• Qualitative research- forced-choice answers can be coded & entered into the Ecstatic analysis program for quantitative data.• Comments & open-ended answers can be entered into a program to help code and sort respondents’ words to find patterns• Quantitative data can be analyzed by using statistical methods.
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research Interviews3 Major Types of Research Interviews• Key informant interview- Collecting data from individuals who have special knowledge or perceptions• Survey Interviews- supplementing data that have been collected by other methods. • Confirmation survey interview-structured; confirms earlier findings • Participant construct interview- shows how informants structure their physical & social world • Projective techniques- present ambiguous stimuli to elicit subconscious perceptions• Focus Group Interviews -interviewing a group of individuals
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research InterviewsStep 1: Define the PurposeConsiderations: • Level of structure • Types of questions • Interviewer qualifications
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research Interviews Step 2: Select the SampleQuantitative Qualitative• Probability Sampling • Purposeful Sampling• Simple Random • Typical Case Sampling• Systematic Random • Maximum Variation• Stratified Random • Stratified Purposeful• Cluster Sampling • Homogeneous Sampling• Convenience Sampling
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research Interviews Step 3: Design an Interview FormatQuantitative QualitativeConsiderations: Considerations:• Unstructured Interview • Informal conversational interview • General interview guide approach• Semi-structured Interview • Standardized open-ended• Structured interview interview • Telephone Interviews • Computer-assisted telephone interviews • Web Interviews
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research InterviewsStep 4: Develop QuestionsConsiderations:• Unstructured interview in Quantitative & Informal conversational interview in qualitative research involve on-the-spot formulation of questions.• In unstructured interviews, the formulation of good questions depend on the interviewer’s ability.• In structured interviews, guides are best.
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research Interviews Step 5: Selecting and Training InterviewersConsiderations: • Distinctive respondents• You will need to decide —researchers need to address and be how many interviewers to sensitive to differences employ and whether they as it relates to gender, must include special class, race, etc. of qualities. participants • Respondents as• The most important interviewers—some selection criterion is the researchers recommend selecting interviewers from interviewer’s ability to the respondent target relate to respondents population positively.
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research InterviewsStep 6: Pilot-Testing the InterviewConsiderations:• The interview guide should be pilot-tested to ensure that they will yield unbiased data.• The pilot test can be used to identify threatening questions.• Interviewers should consider selecting a subgroup from the pilot sample to check the wording of interview questions.• Validity can be threatened when one question is interpreted differently by different respondents.
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research Interviews Step 7: Conducting the InterviewAccessing the How they phrase their requests forsetting participation and respond to potential interviewees’ questionsUnderstanding Interviewer must decide which aspects ofrespondents’ the respondent’s behavior to focus on during the interview (nonverballanguage and communication)cultureDeciding how Interviewer needs to decide what type ofto present personal image to present to respondentsoneself
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research Interviews Step 7: Conducting the InterviewLocating an Find an insider to translate the cultural moresinformant and language of the group from whom the interviewees are selectedGaining trust If sensitive topics are the focus of the research study, the interviewer will need to establish a deep level of trust in order to obtain the desired dataEstablishing The interviewer needs to decide how muchrapport rapport to establish with each respondent. Stronger rapport is necessary if interviewer wishes the respondent to reveal deeply personal or sensitive information.
Steps in Preparing & Conducting Research InterviewsStep 8: Analyzing Interview Data• The analysis of responses to open-form questions requires the development of a category system.• George Kuh’s study involved a five-step procedure that used a semi-structured interview guide. Each mention of an outcome in an interview was coded as an instance of a particular category.• In using the grounded theory approach, a researcher would use constant comparison to compare entries within and across categories. The researcher would be likely to generate constructs, themes, and patterns from the categorical data.
Collecting Research Data with Questionnaires and Interviews Summary• Questionnaires and interviews can be used to collect data about phenomena that is not directly observable (e.g. inner experiences, opinions, values, interests, etc.)• They are more convenient to use than direct observation when used for collecting data on observable behavior.• Both have advantages and disadvantages that the researcher must consider.• Both require similar steps of design in terms of data collection, analysis, and interpretation.• Planning is key for both in terms of training and equipment need to successfully conduct the study.
ReferencesGall, Meredith D., Gall, Joyce P., & Borg, Walter R. (2007). Educational research (8th Edition), A B Longman Publishing, ISBN: 0-321-08189-7