SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource

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SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource

  1. 1. Designing a survey Issues to consider
  2. 2. The benefits of ‘closed questions’ <ul><li>Researcher decides on the response categories </li></ul><ul><li>Limited categories for respondents to choose from </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone is asked the same questions (reliability) </li></ul><ul><li>These responses can can be counted (quantified) </li></ul><ul><li>These can be converted into percentages (%) </li></ul><ul><li>Trends and correlations can be made from these figures </li></ul>
  3. 3. Question 1: Do you like school? <ul><li>YES  </li></ul><ul><li>NO  </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why closed questions are preferred by Positivists <ul><li>Fixed response questions make the process more reliable and can be repeated by others </li></ul><ul><li>The approach is standardised and systematic – thus controlled and logical </li></ul><ul><li>Causal relationships can be identified </li></ul><ul><li>No opinions and bias can taint the responses </li></ul>
  5. 5. Disadvantages of closed questions <ul><li>The responses lack validity </li></ul><ul><li>Words used in questions have different meanings to different people </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents are limited in what answers they can give </li></ul><ul><li>Questions can be leading </li></ul>(arguments from Interpretivist Sociologists)
  6. 6. Open-Ended Questions <ul><li>No fixed response categories </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents have greater freedom in how they respond </li></ul><ul><li>Unlimited range of responses </li></ul><ul><li>Different questions asked of different respondents </li></ul><ul><li>Data is qualitative and loaded with meaning (higher validity) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Question1 – What are your views on school? <ul><li>_____________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>_____________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>_____________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you feel this way? _______________ </li></ul><ul><li>_____________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>_____________________________________ </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why open-ended questions are preferred by Interactionists <ul><li>Respondents can explain their meanings more fully (validity) </li></ul><ul><li>There are no limits on the responses given </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents can introduce their own ideas and issues </li></ul>
  9. 9. Disadvantages of open-ended questions <ul><li>Any response can be given – it is impossible to categorise responses </li></ul><ul><li>If respondents can introduce their own questions – not all respondents are asked the same – can’t compare (weak reliability) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Problems in designing questions <ul><li>Using technical language </li></ul><ul><li>Leading questions </li></ul><ul><li>Producing ‘meaningful categories’ </li></ul><ul><li>Long questions - boredom </li></ul>
  11. 11. Issues to consider <ul><li>How well does a respondent understand a question? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they telling the truth? </li></ul><ul><li>Do respondents really do as they tell you they do? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Interviewer Bias <ul><li>Interviews are never neutral </li></ul><ul><li>How does a respondent perceive an interviewer (age/class/ethnicity/gender)? </li></ul><ul><li>The respondents may give researcher the answers they think they want to hear </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents may lie – sabotage </li></ul>

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