Self Report In Research and Questionnaire Technique (XI)

Afza.Malik GDA

Effective and Web Based Questionnaire

Self Report In Research and Questionnaire Technique, Surveys , Web Based Questionnaire and Development of an Effective Questionnaire.

Self Report In Research and Questionnaire Technique, Surveys , Web Based Questionnaire and Development of an Effective Questionnaire.

    As questionnaires are returned, researchers should keep a log of incoming receipts daily. Each questionnaire should be opened, checked for usability, and assigned an identification number. Such record-keeping assists in assembling results, monitoring response rates, and making decisions about the timing of follow-up mailings and cutoff dates. 

    The Internet is increasingly being used to collect structured self-report data. Web-based surveys appear to be an especially promising approach for accessing groups of people interested in very specific topic domains. Using the Internet to distribute questionnaires requires appropriate equipment and some technical skills, but there are a growing number of aids for doing such surveys. 

    Web-based surveys can be administered in different ways. One method is to design a questionnaire in a word processing program (eg, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, WordPro), as would usually be the case for mailed questionnaires. The file containing the questionnaire would be attached to e-mail messages and distributed to a list of potential respondents.     

    Respondents then complete the questionnaire and return it as an e-mail attachment (or they can print it and return it by mail or fax). This method may be problematic if respondents have trouble opening attachments or if they use a different word processing program. It is also possible to create files containing the survey in executable format (.exe), using a database program such as Paradox or Access. 

    Internet surveys are increasingly being administered using web-based forms. This approach requires researchers to have their own website on which the survey form is posted. Respondents typically access the website by a hypertext link (ie, by clicking on the hypertext, which sends the user to another website). 

    For example, respondents may be invited to participate in the survey through an e-mail message that includes the hyperlink to the survey, or they may be invited to participate when they enter a website related in content to the survey (eg, the website of to cancer support organization). 

    There are also mechanisms for having the survey website included on search engines. However, it is important to weigh the tradeoffs between having a broad population and receiving survey data from inappropriate respondents. Web-based forms are designed for online response, and may in some cases be programmed to include interactive features. 

    By having dynamic features, respondents can receive as well as give information a feature that increases people's motivation to participate. For example, respondents can be given information about their own responses (eg, how they scored on a scale) or about responses of other participants. 

    A major advantage of web-based forms are that the entered data are directly amenable to analysis. Several reference books are available to help researchers who wish to launch an Internet survey. For example, the books by Nesbary (2000) and Birnbaum (2001) provide useful information.

Quick Review

    1:Self-report data are usually collected by an oral interview or written questionnaire. Self reports vary widely in their degree of structure or standardization.

    2:Unstructured and loosely structured self reports , which provide respondents and interviewers latitude in formulating questions and answers, yield rich narrative data for qualitative analysis.

    3:Methods of collecting qualitative self-report data include the following: 

        (1) unstructured interviews, which are conversational discussions on the topic of interest

          (2) semi-structured interviews, in which interviewers are guided by a topic guide of questions to be asked

        (3) focus group interviews, which involve discussions with small, homogeneous groups about topics covered in a topic guide

        (4) joint interviews, which involve simultaneously talking with members of a dyad (eg, two spouses)

        (5) life histories, which encourage respondents to narrate, in chronologic sequence, their life experiences

        (6) oral histories, which are used to gather personal recollections of events and their perceived causes and consequences

     (7) critical incidents interviews, which involve probes about the circumstances surrounding a behavior or incident that is critical to an outcome of interest

        (8) diaries and journals, in which respondents are asked to maintain daily records about some aspects of their lives

        (9) the think-aloud method, which involves having people use audio-recording devices to talk about decisions as they are making them

    (10) photo elicitation interviews, which are stimulated and guided by photographic images

        (11) solicited or unsolicited narrative communications on the Internet.

    4:In preparing for in-depth interviews, researchers learn about the language and customs of participants, formulate broad questions, make decisions about how to present themselves, develop ideas about interview settings, and take stock of equipment needs.

    5:Conducting good in-depth interviews requires considerable interviewer skill in putting people at ease, developing trust, listening intently, and managing possible crises in the field.

    6:In-depth self-report methods tend to yield data of considerable richness and are useful in gaining an understanding about little-researched phenomena, but they are time-consuming and yield a wealth of data that are challenging to analyze. 

    7:Structured self-report instruments may include open- or closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow respondents to reply in narrative fashion, whereas closed-ended (or fixed alternative) questions offer response options from which respondents must choose.

    8:Questionnaires are less costly and time-consuming than interviews, offer the possibility of anonymity, and run no risk of interviewer bias; however, interviews tend to yield higher response rates, to be suitable for a wider variety of people, and to yield richer data than questionnaires.

    9:Types of closed-ended questions include 

            (1) dichotomous questions, which require a choice between two options (eg, yes/no)

            (2) multiple-choice questions, which offer a range of alternatives

       (3) cafeteria questions, in which respondents are asked to select a statement best representing their view

         (4) ran korder questions, in which respondents are asked to rank a list of alternatives along a continuum

     (5) forced-choice questions, which require respondents to choose between two competing positions

       (6) rating questions, which ask respondents to make judgments along an ordered, bipolar dimension

      (7) checklists or matrix questions in which several questions requiring the same response format are used 

         (8) calendar questions, which ask the stop and start dates of various events, recorded on a calendar grid

       (9) visual analogue scales (VAS), which are continuously used to measure subjective experiences such as pain.

    10:Composite psychosocial scales are multipleitem self-report tools for measuring the degree to which individuals possess or are characterized by target traits or attributes.

    11:Likert scales comprise a series of statements worded favorably or unfavorably toward a phenomenon. Respondents indicate degree of agreement or disagreement with each statement; a total score is computed by the summing item scores, each of which is scored for the intensity and direction of favorability expressed. Likert scales are also called summated rating scales.

    12:Semantic differentials (SDs) consist of a series of bipolar rating scales on which respondents indicate their reaction toward some phenomenon; scales can measure an evaluative (eg, good/bad), activity (eg, active/passive), or potency (eg, strong/weak) dimension.

    13:Self-reports are vulnerable to the risk of reporting biases, which are often called response set biases; This problem concerns the tendency of some people to respond to items in characteristic ways, independently of the item's content.

    14:The social desirability response bias stems from a person's desire to appear in a favorable light. The extreme response set results when a person characteristically endorses extreme response alternatives. Another response bias is known as acquiescence, which is a yea-sayer's tendency to agree with statements regardless of their content. A converse problem arises when people (naysayers) disagree with most statements.

    15:Data quality in interviews depends heavily on interviewers' interpersonal skills. Interviewers must put respondents at ease and build rapport with them, and need to be skillful at probing for additional information when respondents give incomplete or irrelevant responses.

    16:Group administration is the most convenient and economical way to distribute questionnaires. Another approach is to mail them, but this method is plagued with the risk of low response rates, which can result in a biased sample.

    17:A number of techniques, such as the use of follow-up reminders and good cover letters, are designed to increase response rates.

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