QUESTIONNAIRE ANDINTERVIEW SCHEDULE Submitted by: Kaushik Mishra & Sharmila Kayal Ph.D ScholarDepartment of Electronic Media &Mass Communication Pondicherry University Puducherry,India
Drafting the schedule orquestionnaire: Interview schedules can be placed any where in thecontinuum between „completely structured‟ to „completelyunstructured‟. Completely structured forms are useful in quantifyingdata and applying statistical tools. Greater objectivity inthe research can be achieved. Open ended questions give greater opportunity to know
Do’s and dont’s in the preparationof schedules Wording of questions: two priests debated on whether it is sin to smoke and pray at the same time. As they did not agree, they decided to ask their superiors “I asked him if it was all right to smoke while praying” Reply: “it is sin” “ I asked him if it was all right to pray while smoking” Reply: “all right” “Do you think US should allow public speeches against democracy? (75% - No) “ Do you think US should forbid public speeches against democracy? (54% - Yes)
Simplicity of language: Language that is accessible to every one should be used. Ex: “Many experts maintain that preventive detention is of great public utility because it prevents potential criminals from committing further crimes or hiding evidence” Do you agree? Self administered questionnaire has to use more simpler language. Even when interviewer is present, many respondents will be too embarrassed to admit that they do not understand, and may just respond random .
Question length: Concise questions take less time, distract less, allowinterviewee not to loose sight of the beginning. Long questions are however, preferable when complex issues are dealt with Questions of the type: “ as you know, there are different opinions on thequestion of …….Some people think that ….. Otherssay that ……. Which position is closest to you? Is better than Are you in favour or against …….?
Number of response alternatives: In closed questions, the alternatives should not be too numerous. (Not more than 5). Respondents memory fades away, otherwise. Slang: Local slang is rewarding, as many subcultures are jealous of their slang Ambiguous or vague questions:Ex. Do you have a steady job?Ex. How many rooms are there in your house? Words with strong emotive connotations: Avoid emotive language better avoid terms like freedom, justice, equality, communism, boss, big business etc. Instead use paraphrases of such terms
Questions with non-univocalanswers: Multiple questions – those that are formulated in such a way as to include more than one question – should be avoided.Ex. „Were your parents religious?‟ ( One parent may be religious and not the other)Ex: “ Do you believe the governments policy is fair and effective‟?Ex. “Do you agree or disagree with abortion?” (agree in special circumstances, but disagree in principle)
Non-discriminating questions: When a range of response alternatives is presented, items that will obviously gain great consensus should be avoided.Ex.: “Which of the following groups of people you trust most? Neighbours; workmates; teachers; priests; members of your family Loaded questions: Do not put answer in the mouth of the respondent by some examples or collocation of wordsEx.: How do you spend your leisure time, watching T.V or doing something else”? Presumed behaviour: Behaviours must not be taken for grantedEx: Question on whom one voted cannot be put with out first being asked if he /she voted. sSince when you stopped beating your wife? ( First conditional questions and then filter questions)
Time focus: Questions on habitual behaviours or those requiring time averages need attentionEx: How often do you go to cinema? In such cases, ask 2nd question: in the last one month how many……” Time focus also applies to situations which change over timeEx: Ask: What was your father‟s occupation when you were 15 years? (And not : what was your father‟s occupation?) Abstract Vs. Concrete:Ex: Do you approve death penalty in cases of exceptionally serious crimes? ( No- 42%)When examples of serious crimes are given ( No – 29%) When some attitude is to be found, useful to narrate story and then ask to take sides
Behaviours and attitudes: Attitudes are more complex to capture. Ask questions on behaviour to gauge attitudes. Behaviour can be verified.Ex.: Prefer to ask questions on whether he/she reads political news in news papers – to know his/her interest in politics Embarrassing questions: Topics of sexual behaviour, income, deviant behaviour etc. are sensitive topics to investigate. In depth interviews by experts are best solution. Ex. Kinsley‟s studies on sexual behaviour No opinion and don‟t know: Include the option „don‟t know and not force to make up opinion on the spot. Use filter questionsEx.:”Some say like this ….Some say ….”Do you have an opinion on this? (If yes, ask who does he agree with?
Social desirability bias: Respondents answer according to what is desirable by the group.Ex: An educated person may say “yes”, for a specific question on whether he has voted in last elections. Formulate questions in concrete terms. Question in such a way as to make even the least desirable answer acceptable by providing a justification.Ex. Do not ask, “ do you read news papers?” Ask: „Do you normally find time to read news papers?”Ex:Political elections were held last month. Many people did not vote because they were ill or away from home or thought it is useless or for some other reason. Did you vote? Impress that all possible answers are equally legitimate.Ex. Some say beer is first to alcoholism. Some say it is harmless. What do you think?
Memory effect: Put a time reference; (Ex.: During last three months……) Use prominent events as time makers. The order of questions: First questions that reassure and instruct and not too personal First on facts and not on opinions More demanding questions in the middle Questions that do not require much thought at the last Keep the respondent‟s attention live Logical sequence should be in such way that, interview flows like a natural conversation. Questions should be from more general to particular Avoid “contamination effect” – one question influencing the response to the next question.