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Flashcards in 5 - Asking Questions Deck (31):

Advantages of open questions

respondents can answer in their own terms
allows unusual answers
allows tapping into participant's knowledge
good for exploring new areas


disadvantages of open questions

time consuming to record/code
length may put respondents off
inaccuracies in transcription of spoken answers


coding, and the types of coding

deriving themes/categories of behaviour. researcher usually assigns number to code
allows information to be coded quantitatively
--> pre coding and post coding


post coding

going back to info to look for incidences of theme or category, may be unreliable because of inconsistencies in judgement from different coders


pre coding

when researcher designs coding grame before administering the survey


3 basic principles of coding

categories are mutually exclusive
categories are exhaustive (including "other")
clear rules regarding how codes are applied (ensuring consistency)


advantages of closed questions

easy to process
easy to compare
set of answers help clarify the meaning of the question
quick and easy to complete
reduces risk of bias from recorder


disadvantages of closed questions

answers lack authenticity/spontaneity
care needs to be taken to prevent overlap in categories
difficult to make answers exhaustive
irritates respondents when answer categories aren't relatable
reduces conversation/rapport in interviews


types of questions

-personal factual questions (age, occupation, how often do you go to the movies? etc. often have to rely on memory to answer)
-factual questions about entity or event (good when info isn't available elsewhere, leads to problems because people aren't careful/systematic observers)
-questions about beliefs (should Canada maintain military presence abroad?)
-questions about attitudes (common in structured interviews/questionaires, Likert scale is common)
-questions about knowledge (who was Canada's first prime minister?)


general rules for designing questions

-keep research question in mind (reduces risk of asking irrelevant questions)
-being specific (what exactly do you need to know?
-recognize ambiguity (how would you answer it?)


what does it mean to avoid ambiguity?

-avoid "often" and "regularly" as measures of frequency
-clarify words that mean different things to different people (ex: dinner)


what does it mean to avoid long questions?

-long questions may be nice for questions asking about behaviour, the longer they take to answer, the more it may facilitate memory recall


what does it mean to avoid double-barrelled questions?

ex: how frequently do you cook and clean? respondent may cook but never clean


what does it mean to avoid general questions?



what does it mean to avoid leading questions?



what does it mean to avoid questions that ask several questions

ex: who did you vote for in the 2011 federal election? should be did you vote in the 2011 federal election? if yes, which party did you vote for?


what does it mean to avoid negatives?

confusion can lead to innaccurate answers


what does it mean to minimize technical values?



what does it mean to ensure respondents have requisite knowledge?

-if respondents do not know about topic, answers won't be meaningful


what does it mean to ensure symmetry between question and answer set?

ex: do you believe in God? strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree


what does it mean to ensure answer set is balanced?

equal number of positive responses to negative responses


what does it mean to not overstretch people's memories?

ex: how many times do you drink in a year? vs how many times do you drink in a week?


what does it mean to provide "don't know" options?

-avoids forcing expression of views that aren't held
-allows out for those too lazy to do thinking (lower education, later questions in survey are more likely to utilize 'don't know' option


what does it mean to consider question order?

-all respondents should receive questions in the same order?
-researchers should be sensitive to possible effects of order


tips on question order

-general questions before specific questions (if specific is before general, aspects of specific answer may be omitted from answer for general because it has already been addressed)
-opinions/attitudes before behaviour/knowledge (ex: spouse reports doing 20% of housework, influences question 'is housework shared equally?')
-early questions should be related to announced topic
-important/meaningful questions early to stimulate interest
-questions that cause embarrassment/anxiety go at the end but not the very end or else the interview will leave a negative impression
-personal questions that are apparently irrelevant to research question go at the end
-long questions should be grouped by topic
-if respondent answers something that will be asked later in the interview, still ask the question because answer might've changed


vertical vs horizontal answers

-vertical reduces likelihood of confusion
-vertical clearly distinguishes answers from questions


vignette questions

-a form of closed question used to examine ethical standards and beliefs by presenting scenario(s) and asking how participants would respond


advantages of vignette questions

-anchors responses in realistic scenario, reduces unreflective reply
-because vignette is about other people, allows for distance between question and respondent, leading to more candid replies


disadvantages of vignette questions

-impossible to establish assumptions made by respondent about the scenario
-difficult to establish how far from respondent's normative views (ie what people say they'll do and what they do are different)


pilot studies

-pilot study cannot use members of sample in true study
-if study will use closed questions, open questions can generate closed answers
-can help develop interviewer's confidence
-helps identify unuseful question, highlights needed modifications
-flags questions that make respondents bored/uncomfortable
-identifies questions most often skipped
-determines adequacy of instructions
-offers opportunity to evaluate overall flow


using existing questions

-already piloted, tested for reliability/validity
-allows for comparisons to other research
-provide insight on best way to approach research