Researching people: using questionnaires and interviews


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Social research methods lecture for animation masters students @salforduni. Introducing the two dominant social research methods - questionnaires and interviews.

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  • Are you asking the right question? Are you measuring the responses in the best ways? Are you getting the information you want?Flexible – adapt to what you are uncovering.
  • Co-producing data - another researcher would produce a different piece of research
  • Researching people: using questionnaires and interviews

    1. 1. Image: Flickr: allthecolor Researching People: Usingquestionnaires and interviews Jenna Condie University of Salford @jennacondie
    2. 2. Overview• A session for you – what are your research questions?• Research as a continuum• Differences between questionnaires and interviews• Being a pragmatic researcher and ‘bricolage’• The importance of being ethical• Questionnaire & interview design• Data collection and data analysis• Interdisciplinarity as the future.
    3. 3. What kind of research questions are you asking? What? How? When? Why? Who? Can? Do? Which? Where? Does? If? Would? Should? Could?Flickr: dullhunk
    4. 4. Research as continuum Ontology – what can we know? Realism Relativism Epistemology – how can we know? Positivism Interpretivism/ Constructionism Methodology – how can we find out? Quantitative Qualitative Method – what tool to use?e.g. experiments, surveys e.g. interviews, diaries 4
    5. 5. So, before you make any decisions about method……ask yourself the following:• What kind of knowledge does your methodology aim to produce?• What kinds of assumptions does the methodology make about the world?• How does the methodology conceptualise the role of the researcher? (Willig, 2001)
    6. 6. Interviews – opportunity for researcher to learnQuestionnaires - tools for about participants lived gathering structured experienceinformation from people (Willig, 2001) (Coolican, 1999)
    7. 7. Questionnaires and interviews most dominant methods in research with peopleWhy? – Building blocks of market research (Hague, 1993) and social research (Robson, 2002) – Survey/interview society – Easy?But there are many other ways! Flickr: AhmadHammoud
    8. 8. The pragmatic researcherDo whatever is best to answer the research questionBricolage: concept adopted by qualitative researchers todefine those who are increasingly using an eclectic rangeof methodological approaches together (Denzin &Lincoln, 2000, McLeod, 2001, Kincheloe, 2001)Researcher-as-bricoleur (from French word for craftsman)Blurred boundaries: “We are no longer bound by the rigidscientific rigour and instead we seem to adopt a ‘pick nmix’ approach that is adaptable to the circumstance andneeds of the research question” (Watt, 2010, p. 51). Flickr: gregheo 8
    9. 9. The importance of being ethicalBritish Psychological Society (2009) – Respect and integrity – Confidentiality – Informed consent – Right to withdraw – Avoid harm – Debrief• Consent form• Information sheet• Internet Mediated Research (IMR) 9 Flickr: Michael D. Dunn
    10. 10. Qs and Is – general differences… Questionnaire Interviews(Realist, Positivist, Quantitative?) (Relativist, Interpretivist, Qualitative?) o Larger data sets  Smaller data sets o Frequencies  Meaning o Statistical info  Language o Measuring response  Lived experience o Closed/Open Q’s  Open Q’s  Understanding o Knowing  Cost o Cost  What method best fits your research question? 10
    11. 11. How to…good advice1. Plan – what do you really want to know? (Back to the question!)2. Secondary research – how have others asked the questions?3. Future – what are you going to do with data? What will it be used for?4. Pilot – always (always!) test out your Q/I5. Sample – who do you need to include?6. Practical – what is possible? Realistic strategy7. Target – how many Q’s/I’s needed?8. Reflection – reflect along the way 11
    12. 12. StructuredQuestionnairesUsually followedas a script- Replicable- Standardised- Objective 12
    13. 13. 8 rules for framing questionnaires1. Think about the objectives of the survey2. Think about how the interview will be carried out3. Think about the knowledge and interest of the respondent4. Think about the introduction5. Think about the order of the questions6. Think about the type of questions7. Think about the possible answers at the same time as thinking about the question itself8. Think about how the data will be processed. (Hague, 1993) 13
    14. 14. Flickr: skittledogStructured Questionnaires Routing – only asking the relevant questions
    15. 15. Response scales (to measure) Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly Likert Agree agree nor Disagree disagreeSemantic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7Differential Cold HotNumerical 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    16. 16. Question WordingUnderstandable Concise Flickr: Orange SteelerJargon Free EthicalConsistent FocusedGrammatically simple Answerable
    17. 17. Question Order No surprises! Time to build rapportFlickr: *¦·sindorella·¦*
    18. 18. Open Questions• Semi-structured questionnaire• Capture nuances“In giving this rating, are there any particularaspects of this event that you are thinking of?”_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    19. 19. Asking about socio-demographics• Look towards already established ways• Key phrase ‘Do you mind me asking’• Gender, age, occupation, ethnicity, tenure, car owner, location…and so on… (ask at the end!)• What will make your sample representative? 19
    20. 20. What to do with the data?Data Collection• Collate and clean• Software - SPSS/ExcelData Analysis• Frequencies (e.g. 79% of respondents said)• Differences (e.g. females were more likely to)• Correlations (e.g. between two scales)• Open questions e.g. quantify or treat as interview data?• Link to your theoretical framework! 20
    21. 21. Semi-structured interviews• Often use an Flickr: MyDigitalSLR interview schedule• Audio-recorded• Co-constructed• Rapport• Role of interviewer• A different researcher would get a different story 21
    22. 22. Example interview schedule 22
    23. 23. Example interview dataJC: erm what about the sort of more pleasant sounds you know not necessarilyMP: like the birds and things yeah you do get a lot of wild life and awful lot of wild life around here and its like because we’re so close to the park its like living in the countryside cos you get the birds chirping first thing in the morning outside your window so it is really nice for the wildlife as wellJC: is that different from where you were living before?MP: well we used to live right next to the woodlandJC: aw so its quite similarMP: so it it is similar apart from you don’t hear the owls [JC: right ok] so (laughs) yeah that’s the only difference reallyJC: so is that a good thing?MP: well not really cos I like the owl sound and because I’d lived on [PLACE OMITTED] for like 23 years it was what I was used to and coming over here at first it was very hard cos I’ve never been so far away from my mum and dad erm but now I’ve just gotten used to it all and everything 23
    24. 24. Reflexivity Contemplating the ways the researcher may have influenced the research and findings (Yardley, 2008) “…how does who I am, who I have been, who I think I am, and how I feel affect data collection and analysis”Flickr: tonyhall (Pillow, 2003, p. 176)
    25. 25. What to do with the data?• Transcription (1 hr audio = 10 hrs work)• Be systematic and organised• Interpretation required!Thematic Analysis f“the first qualitativemethod of analysis that f fresearchers should learn”(Braun & Clarke,2006, p. 78) f d f 25
    26. 26. Interdisciplinarity as the future• Social science research methods• Psychology• What assumptions are you making about people?• How does Q/I data relate to your discipline?• Objective (e.g. technical measurements)• Subjectivity (e.g. attitudes, emotions, cognitions)• Innovation 26
    27. 27. Example: Interdisciplinarity• DEFRA Vibration Project Acoustics Social Science Team Team Human response to vibration in residential environments 27
    28. 28. No right or wrong way• Criticisms of any method• Acknowledge criticism• Advantages to all methods• Acknowledge advantages• Evaluate research using criteria that is method- appropriate• Justify reasons for using methods you choose – back to your research question!• Make suggestions for further research 28
    29. 29. Some Resources• Toolkits – Realities at University of Manchester• Online survey tools• BPS ethical guidelines conduct_home.cfm• BPS conducting research on the internet practitioners/guidelines-for-practitioners.cfm• Sage Research Methods Online• Hague (1993) E-book - questionnaire design blog/free-ebook-questionnaire-design/• Braun, V., & Clark, V., (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology gy.pdf• Dancey, C., & Reidy, J. (2005) Statistics without maths for psychology: using SPSS for Windows (AL)• Field, A. (2005) (2009) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (CW/AL) & stats website• Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research (CW)• Willig, C. (2001) Introducing qualitative research in psychology: adventures in theory and method (AL) 29
    30. 30. Researching people: Usingquestionnaires and interviews Jenna Condie University of Salford @jennacondie