Surveys and Questionnaires

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Transcript Surveys and Questionnaires

Surveys and Questionnaires
How Many People Should I Ask?
Ask a lot of people many short questions:
Likert Scale
5 4 3 2 1
Ask a smaller number of people some longer
Open ended – “What is your opinion of….?”
“How would you solve this problem?”
How Many People Should I Ask?
You can combine yes/no or Likert scale with a
few open-ended questions. This will give good
information with some details.
OR: Interview one person.
Summary: Many people, short answers.
Few people, long answers.
It all depends
It depends on your topic.
Gather enough information to write a report
about your results.
Too little information = nothing to say
Too much information = you have to write a
What do I ask?
• Basic data to describe your participants
– Age and gender
– Area of study
– Anything related to your topic (Does their family
live in San Juan or on a farm?)
We had ten participants. They were all between the
ages of 19 and 21, three women and seven men.
Most were biology majors but two were in
business administration.
Your Topic
• FIRST, put a title or heading saying what the questionnaire
is about, who it is from, etc.
• After the general data (Demographic Data), ask your
questions. You can put the age/gender/etc. at the end if
you like. Some researchers prefer that but we are not
asking for any sensitive data (anything about $$ is
• Do not ask any questions that you do not need to know.
• Ask only what is 100% necessary
• You must analyze every question in detail so think about
what you need to know and why you need to know it.
• LAST, write THANK YOU at the bottom.
The Questionnaire
• Do not crowd the page
• Do not ask too many questions (so the person
feels tired just looking at it, like the UPRM
teacher evaluation form)
• Do not use big fancy words or complicated
• Have one question per item (do not combine
questions – people will not answer them)
• Do not have “leading questions”
• Do not have bias
Bias is your personal opinion. You do not want
the participants to know your personal
Example: Via Verde is the stupidest idea I have
ever heard. What do you think?
Your bias affects how people answer.
Revised: What is your opinion of Via Verde?
People Like to Help You
They might say what they think you want them
to say! That is why you must avoid bias.
ALSO: Avoid Leading Questions
AND: Always give an option
not sure
don’t know
What’s the difference between “I don’t know”
and “I don’t care” ??
People might answer automatically
You don’t like Via Verde, do you?
Via Verde is a good idea, isn’t it?
Do you think it’s a good idea?
Do you think it’s a bad idea?
NEUTRAL: What is your opinion of Via Verde?
Avoid Using Negatives
Do not use the word NOT! It is too confusing.
The food in the cafeteria is not good.
Yes, it’s not good? Or No, it’s not good? Or yes it
is good, or no, it is not not good?
Negatives only complicate things
“I think it is good.”
means the same as
“I do not think it is not good.”
Yes/No Questions
You can use these but you will need more
information from your participants.
So, ask them yes/no and then also ask them
some other kind(s) of question(s) to know why
they answered yes or no.
You need enough information to write about
and answer your research question.
Do not take information you don’t need
Make the question reasonable
How much TV do you watch every week?
15 minutes
30 minutes
60 minutes
75 minutes
More than 75 minutes
Be sure your choices make people feel
How much TV do you watch each week?
Less than 1 hour
2 hours
3 hours
4 hours or more
This makes the 4 hour person feel they are at the
end of the scale – they might think it is better to
answer 3 hours. But if “4 hours” is in the middle,
then they will not feel odd at all.
You will get more meaningful results
How much TV do you watch each week?
1 hour or less
2 hours
3 hours
4 hours
5 hours
6 hours
7 hours
8 hours or more
Or use an open-end number
How many hours of TV do you watch each
week? ________ hours (approximately)
More unreasonable questions
How often do you text while driving?
1-100 times per day
More than 100 times per day
Likert Scale of Agreement
Usually, use an odd number (3 or 5) so you have
a middle.
neither some
Much what
Agree agree
disagree disagree
Likert Scale gives you a number
Yes/No gives you a percentage.
Just over half, or 55%, of the participants
Likert Scale gives you a number based on the
The mean (“average”) response was 3.2, or just
slightly above “no opinion.”
Rating Scale
I think the idea is
A. Excellent
B. Good
C. Fair
D. Poor
E. No opinion
Using an Even Number
Some researchers like to force the answer. They do not
give a middle “no opinion.”
(You have to decide if that is what you want to do – some
people will refuse to answer or they will get upset)
Always put AGREE first and DISAGREE last. This is the
order people expect.
Giving the Option to Not Answer
Many times, people will not answer if they do
not see an answer they like.
Other times, people will answer even though
they don’t like the answers. Then they will be
irritated and you will get the wrong result.
don’t know
not sure
no opinion
need more information
I don’t care
Multiple Choice: It’s Not Easy!
Multiple Choice is good when you are looking for
something specific (this, this, or this).
BUT If you want to know what people really think,
take time to make really good questions.
If you use multiple choice, say “check all that apply”
and also have “NONE” and “OTHER” – but usually
people will not write anything after they check
that. So you will not have any information.
That’s Why It’s Called…
People have to choose from the choices you give.
So that is good if that is what you want.
BUT do not make the list too long. The person might start
having to think a lot and then be unable to decide.
If you want true opinions, limit your use of multiple
choice. Use them combined with short answer. Ask
people “WHY” in a separate question.
SUMMARY: Two kinds of questions
Likert Scale/Rating Scale
Multiple Choice
1. Words
I do not recycle because
2. Number
I recycle ______ times per month.
How Do I Organize My Questions?
• Put the easy / happy ones first
• Group questions on the same idea together
• Put difficult or controversial questions at the end
If you put the hard ones last, the person will feel
better and be worried for less time. If you put the
hard ones first, they might not answer the rest of
it so well. Of course you do not want to upset
anybody, but it can happen with sensitive or
political topics.
If I have a combination of question
It is good to mix them up.
You can put some yes/no and then have some
Likert scale. Then have an open ended written
answer. Then another yes/no and some
multiple choice.
Doing this is good because it makes people read
the questions. If they see 12 questions all the
same format, they might start to answer
automatically without really thinking about it.
Making your Questionnaire
1. Write a draft of your questions. Be sure you
have enough questions to find out some
useful information and details.
2. You must test your questions on at least
three people during the class – get their
3. Do not give your questionnaire to anybody
else until the professor has seen it and signed
her approval.
Finally …
• Think about how you feel when you answer a
• What do you like or not like about it? What
makes it friendly or nice to do?
• What makes you feel they appreciate your help?
• How do you like it to look on the page?
• What kinds of questions are good, and what
kinds make you feel you cannot tell the real
answer? (do you like to take multiple choice
The End