TASK: Look at your example of a questionnaire using open questions. What are the strengths and weaknesses of using this type of question?
Ethics in terms of children Not understanding the question
Methodology: Questionnaires. LO: To understand when it is useful to use questionnaires and the strengths and weaknesses of this method.
Social survey: QuestionnairesA questionnaire isa list of pre-setquestions. Auseful tool forconducting asocial surveybecause it can beused to gatherinformation froma large number ofpeople.
There are four main types of questionnaire used in sociology and social research1. Factual surveys: these gather information about features of peoples lives rather than asking for thoughts, feelings or opinions.2. Attitudinal surveys: these ask peoples views on topics and issues.3. Social psychological surveys: these develop out of attitudinal surveys and try to group people into personality types4. Explanatory surveys: designed to test a hypothesis - for instance a questionnaire designed to establish causality (what causes a social phenomenon).
Questionnaires.There are 2 ways in which these can be conducted:SELF COMPLETION- questionnaires you give to your sample to complete on their own.INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRES/ STRUCTURED INTERVIEW
Pilot questionnairesBefore doing your final questionnaire, you must test out your questionnaire to see:Whether your questions are understood.To make sure there are no mistakes.To see if you get the sort of answers you wanted to get.To find out whether you need extra questions.
Types of questions.Closed QuestionsDesigned to get quantitative data which is quick and easy to analyse.Involves the researcher pre-setting the responses.Open Questions:Ask the respondent to answer a question in their own words.This provides more qualitative information.
Pre-coded or Closed questionnaires 1. How many hours do you spend on homework per week? A. 1 - 3 hours B. 4 – 6 hours C. 7 – 9 hours D. 10 – 12 hours E. More: Please specify…………………Designed to get quantitative data which is quick and easy toanalyse. Involves the researcher pre-setting the responses. What are the strengths and weaknesses of closed questions?
Pre-coded questionnaires Advantages Disadvantages • Easy to produce • Limited choice of answers. standardized, statistical Respondents cannot data. explain their views fully. • Data is usually reliable. • Meaning of questions Researchers can check maybe unclear. findings and repeat the • May lack validity because research the researcher imposes a • Easier for respondents to limited choice of answers. reply- may make response May not reflect social rate higher. reality of respondent.
Open-ended questionnaires 1. What is you opinion on theThe open ended amount of homework given questionnaire has a each week? number of pre-set questions, but no ________________________ choice of answers. ________________________ This enables ________________________ respondents to ________________________ dictate their own ________________________ answers. What are the strengths and weaknesses of open questions?
Open-ended questionnaires Advantages Disadvantages It’s hard to classify and turn into Produces more valid data statistical data. May not be as reliable as pre- because it allows the coded questionnaires. Because it respondents to use their can produce a wide range of own words to express how answers, it could be difficult to they feel. compare to other similar research. May also be difficult to repeat research and get similar They provide more detail results. and depth compared to Often people will be put off by pre-coded questionnaires having to provide so many long answers- this can affect the overall response rate and some questions may be left blank.
Keyword CensusThe ten-yearly survey of the whole UK population in the form of a written questionnaire.
TheoreticalPositivists prefer because they deliver reliable data e.g. Replicable due to using same set of questionsCan be used to access both quantitative and qualitative information. However generates more quantitative data that can be used to test hypotheses and correlations between variablesOften large scale and therefore more representativeInterpretivists suggest they lack validity
Discuss in pairs the advantages and disadvantages to using questionnaires generally
Overall advantages of using questionnaires….1. Inexpensive- cheap to classify results.2. Representativeness3. Postal questionnaires allow a geographically dispersed sample.4. No interviewer bias with self completion questionnaires.5. Can be confidential and anonymous allowing people to feel free to express their views.6. Produces quantitative and reliable7. Hypothesis Testing8. Detachment and objectivity- little or no contact between researcher and respondent (no bias)
Overall disadvantages of using questionnaires….1. Response rate- often low- unrepresentative?2. Need to be brief to keep respondents attention3. Respondents may not understand or read the questions.4. Answers may be incomplete or illegible.5. May not access enough qualitative information.6. Data may not be valid or even truthful7. Detachment- questions cannot be clarified or misunderstandings cleared up8. Impose researcher meaning- e.g. q’s asked
QuestionIn Michael Schofield’s (1965) research on the sexual behaviour of teenagers a young girl was asked in a questionnaire “Are you a virgin?She answered “No, not yet”Identify the problems of questionnaire research that this suggests
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