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Module 3- Data Collection Strategies I Topics Covered Questionnaire Design Phrasing, Asking, Sequencing and Pretesting Questionnaire

A Survey is only as Good as the Questions it asks A good questionnaire appears as easy to compose as does a good poem. The end product should look as if effortlessly written by an inspired child but it is usually the result of long, painstaking work Questionnaire Design Relevance and Accuracy are the two basic criteria a questionnaire must meet if it is to achieve the researchers purposes. To achieve these ends, a researcher who systematically plans a questionnaires design will be required to make several decisions- typically but not necessarily, in the order listed below:

1. What should be asked? 2. How should each question be phrased? 3. In what sequence should the questions be arranged? 4. What questionnaire layout will best serve the research objectives? 5. How should the questionnaire be pretested? Does the questionnaire need to be revised? A) What Should be Asked? 1) To refer problem definition and objectives is the first step, we should take into consideration while framing a questionnaire. 2) The problem definition will indicate which type of information must be collected to answer the managers questions; different types of questions may be better at obtaining certain types of information than others. 3) Further, the communication medium used for data collection will have been determined. 4) This decision is another forward linkage that influences the structure and content of the questionnaire. 5) The specific questions to be asked will be a function of the previous decisions Questionnaire Relevancy A questionnaire is relevant if no unnecessary information is collected and if the information that is needed to solve the business problem is obtained.

To ensure information relevancy, the researcher must be specific about data needs, and there should be a rationale for each item of information. When planning the questionnaire design, it is essential to think about possible omissions. Questionnaire Accuracy

Once the researcher has decided what should be asked, the criterion of accuracy becomes the primary concern. Accuracy means that the information is reliable and valid. Obtaining accurate answers from respondents is strongly influenced by the researchers ability to design a questionnaire that facilitates recall and that will motivate the respondent to cooperate. Respondents tend to be most cooperative when the subject of the research is interesting. Question sequence and wording substantially influence accuracy.

B) Phrasing Questions A) Open-Ended Response Question It is a question that poses some problem and asks the respondent to answer in his or her own words. These questions are most beneficial when the researcher is conducting exploratory research, especially if the range of responses is not known. Open-ended questions can be used to learn what words and phrases people spontaneously give to the free-response questions. By gaining free and uninhibited responses, a researcher may find some unanticipated reaction toward the topic. As the responses have the flavor of the conversational language that people use in talking about products or jobs, responses to these questions may be a source for effective communication. Open-ended response questions are especially valuable at the beginning of an interview. They are good first questions because they allow respondents to warm up to the questioning process.

Disadvantages 1) The cost of open-ended response questions is substantially greater. 2) The interviewer bias may influence the responses. 3) Articulate individuals tend to give longer answers to open-ended response questions.

Examples of Open-ended questions: What things do you like most about your job? What names of local banks can you think of offhand? What comes to your mind when you look at this advertisement? What comment you want to give to this company? How does that process work now? What are your thoughts for this topic? What could make this no longer a priority? Who else is involved in this decision? What other issues are important to you? What would you like to see improved?

B) Fixed-Alternative Questions It is a question in which the respondent is given specific limited-alternative responses and asked to choose the one closet to his or her own viewpoint. In contrast to open-ended questions, fixed-alternative questions require less interviewer skill, take less time, and are easier for the respondent to answer. It requires classification of the answer into standardized groupings prior to data collection. Standardizing alternative responses to a question provides comparability of answers, which facilitates coding, tabulating, and, ultimately, interpreting the data. A major problem in developing dichotomous or multiple-choice alternative is framing the response alternatives. There should be no overlap among categories. Alternatives should be mutually exclusive. When a researcher is unaware of the potential responses to a question, fixed-alternative questions obviously cannot be used. For Example: 1. Did you work overtime or at more than one job last week? Yes No 2. Compared to ten years ago, would you say that the quality of most products made in Japan is higher, about the same, or not as good?

Higher About the same Not as good 3. In management, is there a useful distinction between what is legal and what is ethical? Yes No

Categories of Fixed Alternative Question 1) Simple-dichotomy or Dichotomous-alternative Question 2) Determinant-Choice Question 3) Frequency-determination Question 4) Attitude Rating Scale 5) Checklist Question 1) Simple-dichotomy or Dichotomous-alternative Question It is a fixed-alternative question that requires the respondent to choose one of two alternatives. The answer can be simple Yes or No or a choice between this and that For Example: Did you make any long distance calls last week? Yes No

2) Determinant-Choice Question It is a type of fixed-alternative question that requires a respondent to choose one (and only one) response from among several possible alternatives. For Example: Please give us some information about your flight. In which section of the aircraft did you sit? 1st Class Business Class Coach Class 3) Frequency-determination Question It is a type of fixed-alternative question that asks for an answer about general frequency of occurrence.

For Example: How frequently do you watch the MTV television channel? Everyday 5-6 times a week 2-4 times a week Once a week Less than once a week Never

4) Attitude Rating Scale It is used to rate attitudes, such as the Likert scale, semantic differential, and stapel scale. For Example: Semantic Differential Scale ____: ____:____:____:____:____ Slow ____: ____:____:____:____:____ Emotional

Fast Intellectual

Contemporary ____: ____:____:____:____:____ Traditional Busy New Progressive ____: ____:____:____:____:____ ____: ____:____:____:____:____ ____: ____:____:____:____:____ Lazy Old Regressive

For Example: Stapel Scale to measure the attitude toward a supervisor

5) Checklist Question It is a type of fixed-alternative question that allows the respondent to provide multiple answers to a single question. The respondent indicates past experience, preference, and the like merely by checking off an item. In many cases the choices are adjectives that describe a particular object. For Example: Please check which of the following sources of information about investments you regularly use, if any. Personal advice of your broker(s) Brokerage newsletters

Brokerage research reports Investment advisory services(s) Conversations with other investors Reports on the Internet None of these Other (Please specify) Phrasing Questions For Self-administered, Telephone, And Personal Interview Surveys The means of data collection will influence the question format and question phrasing. In general, questions for mail and telephone surveys must be less complex than those utilized in personal interviews. Questionnaires for telephone and personal interviews should be written in a conversational style. The Art of Asking Questions


Rule:1 Avoid Complexity: Use Simple, Conversational Language Words used in questionnaires should be readily understandable to all respondents. Remember, not all people have the same vocabulary.

I dont know the rules of grammar..If youre trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular Rule:2 Avoid Leading and Loaded Questions Leading and loaded questions are a major source of bias in question wording. Leading Questions suggest or imply certain answers.

For Example: Many people are using cleaning less because of improved was-and-wear clothes. How do you feel was-and-wear clothes have affected your use of dry-cleaning facilities in the past 4 years? ______ Use Less _____No change _____Use More

Loaded Questions suggest a socially desirable answer or are emotionally charged.

For Example: In light of todays farm crisis, it would be in the publics best interest to have the federal government require labeling. ____Strongly Agree ______Agree _______Uncertain


______Strongly Disagree

When taking personality tests, respondents frequently are able to determine which answers are most socially acceptable, even though those answers do not portray their true feelings.

For Example: I feel capable of handling myself in most social situations. ________Agree _________Disagree

Asking respondents how often they use a product or perform a task leads them to generalize about their behavior, because there usually is some variance in their behavior. One is likely to portray ones ideal behavior rather than ones average behavior. If a question embarrasses the respondent, it may elicit no answer or a biased response. The problem may be mitigated by introducing the section of the questionnaire with a Counterbiasing Statement. Counterbiasing Statement is an introductory statement or preface to a question that reduces a respondents reluctance to answer potentially embarrassing questions. A question may be leading because it is phrased to reflect either the negative or positive aspects of the issue. Split-Ballot Technique is used to control for response bias. Two alternative phrasings of the same questions are utilized for respective halves of the sample to yield a more accurate total response than would be possible if only a single phrasing were utilized.

Rule:3 Avoid Ambiguity: Be Specific As Possible Items on questionnaires are often ambiguous because they are too wide-range of meanings. Consider indefinite words such as often, occasionally, usually, regularly, frequently, many, good, fair and poor. Each of these words has many meanings. The respondents may have a tendency to provide stereotyped good management responses rather than to describe their actual behavior. Question ambiguity is a pervasive problem. It is not easily eliminated.

Rule:4 Avoid Double Barreled Items A question covering several issues at once is referred to as double-barreled and should always be avoided. For Example:

Are you satisfied with the present system of handling library? (Are enough copies available? Are the required materials ordered promptly? Are the borrowing regulations adequate for students use of materials?) Yes No

Rule:5 Avoid Making Assumptions For Example:

How do you feel about the excellent service provided by the restaurant? Good Average Bad The researcher should not place the respondent in that sort of bind by including an implicit assumption in the question. Another mistake that question writers sometimes make is assuming that the respondent has previously thought about an issue.

Rule:6 Avoid Burdensome Questions that may tax the Respondents Memory Researchers writing questions about past behavior or events should recognize that certain questions may make serious demands on the respondents memory. In many situations, respondents cannot recall the answer to a question. If the researcher suspects that the respondent forgot the answer to a question, h/she may rewrite the question in an aided-recall format. While aided recall is not as strong a test of attention or memory as unaided recall, this type of question is less taxing to the respondents memory. Telescoping and squishing are two additional consequences of respondents forgetting the exact details of their behavior. Telescoping occurs when respondents believe that past events happened more recently than they actually did. The opposite effect, Squishing, occurs when respondents think that recent events took place longer ago than they really did. Simply including a Dont know response category may solve the question writers problem.

D) What is the Best Question Sequence? 1) The order of questions, or the question sequence, may serve several functions for the researcher. 2) If the opening questions are interesting, simple to comprehend, and easy to answer, respondent's cooperation and involvement can be maintained throughout the questionnaire. 3) Generally it is not advisable to ask personal information just to warm up the respondents, because asking for this may embarrass or threaten respondents.

4) It is advisable to ask personal information at the end after rapport has been established between respondent and interviewer. 5) Structuring the order of questions so that they are logical, will help to ensure the respondents cooperation and eliminate confusion or indecision. 6) The researcher maintains legitimacy by making sure that the respondent can comprehend the relationship between a given question and the overall purpose of the study. 7) A logical order may aid the individual s memory. 8) Order bias caused by the influence of earlier questions in a questionnaire or by an answers position in a set of answers. 9) Order can also distort survey results.

10) Sequencing specific questions before asking about broader issues is a common cause of order bias. 11) Funnel Technique is a technique of asking general questions before specific questions in order to obtain unbiased responses. 12) It allows the researcher to understand the respondents frame of reference before asking more specific questions about the level of the respondents information and the intensity of his or her opinions. 13) One advantage of Internet surveys is the ability to reduce order bias by having the computer randomly order questions and/or response alternatives. 14) Filter Question is a question in a questionnaire that screens out respondents not qualified to answer a second question. 15) Pivot Question is a filter question used to determine which version of a second question will be asked. E) What should be the Best Layout? Good layout and physical attractiveness are crucial in mail, internet, and other selfadministered questionnaires.

Layout of the Traditional Questionnaires The layout should be neat and attractive, and the instructions for the interviewer should be easy to follow. Margins should of decent size, white space should be used to separate blocks of print, and any avoidable columns of multiple boxes should be kept to a minimum. Questionnaires should be designed to appear as brief and small as possible.

Sometimes it is advisable to use a booklet form of questionnaire, rather than a large number of pages stapled together. In self-administered and mail questionnaires a carefully constructed title may by itself capture the respondents interest, underline the importance of the research, emphasize the interesting nature of the study, appeal to the respondents ego, or emphasize the confidential nature of the study. When an interviewer is to administer the questionnaire, the analyst can design the questionnaire to make the job of following interconnected questions much easier by utilizing instructions, directional arrows, special question formats and other tricks to trade. Layout is especially important when questionnaires are long or require the respondent to fill in a large amount of information. The use of headings or subtitles to identify groups of questions can help the respondent grasp the scope or nature of the questions to be asked. The respondent can follow the logic of the questionnaire at a glance, because the headings indicate groups of similar questions.

Layout of Internet Questionnaires A questionnaire on a website should be easy to use, flow logically, and have a graphic look and overall feel that motivate the respondent to cooperate from start to finish. With the help of Graphical User Interface (GUI) software, allows the researcher to design questionnaires in which respondents click on the appropriate answer rather than having to type answers or codes. Researchers often use Web Publishing Software, such as WebSurveyor, FrontPage, or Netscape Composer, to format a questionnaire so that they will know how it should appear online. However, several features of a respondents computer may influence the appearance of an internet questionnaire.

Layout Issues The first decision is whether the questionnaire will appear page by page, with individual questions on separate screens, or on a scrolling basis, with the entire questionnaire appearing on a single web page that the respondent scrolls from top to bottom. The Paging Layout greatly facilitates skip patterns. When a scrolling questionnaire is long, category or section headings are helpful to respondents.

PUSH BUTTON on an internet questionnaire, a small outlined area, such as a rectangle or an arrow, that the respondent clicks on to select an option or perform a function, such as submit. Decisions must be made about the use of color, graphics, animation, sound, and other special features that the internet makes possible. As the internet surveys offer no visual clues about the number of questions to be asked, it is important to provide a status bar or some other visual indicator of questionnaire length. STATUS BAR, in an Internet questionnaire, a visual indicator that tells the respondent what portion of the survey he or she has completed. There are many ways of displaying questions on a computer screen like Radio button, Dropdown Box, Check Box, Open-ended Box, Pop-up Box etc. Radio Button, in an internet questionnaire, is a circular icon, resembling a button, that activates one response choice and deactivates others when a respondents clicks on it. Drop-Down Box, in an internet questionnaire, a space saving device that reveals responses when they are needed but otherwise hides them from view. Check Box, in an internet questionnaire, is a small graphic box, next to an answer, that a respondent clicks on to choose that answer; typically, a check mark or an X appears in the box when the respondents clicks on it. Open-ended Box, in an internet questionnaire, is a box where respondents can type in their own answers to open-ended questions. Pop-up Boxes, in an internet questionnaire, boxes that appear at selected points and contain information or instructions for respondents. Finally, it is a good idea to include a customized Thank-You page at the end of an internet questionnaire, so that a brief Thank-You note pops onto their screens when respondents click on the submit push button.