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Hints for Designing Effective Questionnaires

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A well designed questionnaire: Gives appropriate data which answers your research question ... a well designed questionnaire? ... A well designed questionnaire: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Hints for Designing Effective Questionnaires


1
Hints for Designing Effective Questionnaires 
Author Robert B. Frary Presntor DeCarlo Bridges
2
Objectives
  • To understand
  • Why we use questionnaires
  • Objectives of a questionnaire
  • Advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires
  • Design of questionnaires
  • Different types of questions used
  • How to avoid common problems and pitfalls

3
What is a questionnaire?
  • An instrument to
  • collect answers to questions
  • collect factual data gathers or measures
    information
  • A series of written questions / items in a fixed,
    rational order

4
Effective Questionnaire
  • A well designed questionnaire
  • Gives appropriate data which answers your
    research question
  • Minimises potential sources of bias
  • Will more likely be completed

5
Objectives of a questionnaire
  • To maximise response rate
  • To ensure that obtained information is accurate
    and relevant to our study
  • as simple and as focused as possible

6
Advantages of questionnaires
  • Can reach a large number of people relatively
    easily and economically (especially postal/E-mail
    questionnaires)
  • Provide quantifiable answers
  • Relatively easy to analyse

7
Disadvantages of questionnaires
  • Provides only limited insight into problem
  • Limited response allowed by questions
  • Maybe not the right questions are asked
  • Varying response
  • Misunderstanding/misinterpretation
  • Need to get it right first time
  • Hard to chase after missing data

8
Types of Questionnaire
  • Self-administrated
  • By post
  • E-mail/Internet
  • Interviewer-administrated
  • Face to face
  • Telephone

9
Self-administered questionnaire
  • Advantages
  • Cheap and easy to administer
  • Preserves confidentiality
  • Completed at respondent's convenience
  • Administered in a standard manner
  • No influence by interviewer

10
Self-administered questionnaire
  • Disadvantages
  • Low response rate
  • Questions can be misunderstood
  • No control by interviewer
  • Time loss

11
Interview-administered questionnaire
  • Advantages
  • Participation by illiterate people
  • Clarification of ambiguity
  • Quick answers

12
Interview-administered questionnaire
  • Disadvantages
  • Interviewer bias
  • Needs more resources
  • Only short questionnaires possible
  • Difficult for sensible issues

13
What makes a well designed questionnaire?
  • Highly structured
  • Collects the same types of information
  • Standardized
  • Allows quantitative and systematic analysis

14
Stages in designing a questionnaire (1)
  • Planning the study
  • Decide on goals of study
  • Know the subject
  • literature, experts
  • Formulate a hypothesis
  • Define information needed to test the hypothesis

15
Stages in designing a questionnaire (2)
  • Determine study population
  • Know the respondents
  • Occupation
  • Special sensitivities
  • Education
  • Ethnic
  • Language

16
Stages in designing a questionnaire (3)
  • Design questions
  • Content of the questions
  • Format of the questions
  • Presentation and layout
  • Coding schedule (if appropriate)
  • Pilot and refine questionnaire

17
Stages in designing a questionnaire (4)
  • Complete study protocol
  • Determine
  • Cost
  • Time
  • Sample size
  • Response rate

18
Basic Rules (1)
  • KISS ? keep it short and simple
  • Length of questionnaire shorter ? ?response
    rates
  • Appearance affects
  • Response rate
  • Data summarization and analysis
  • ? easy on the eye

19
Basic Rules (2)
  • Number all items and pages
  • Put an identifying mark on all pages
  • Put return address on questionnaire
  • Put study title in bold on first page
  • Print directions in bold
  • Self-addressed envelope!!
  • Remember the Unique Identifier

20
Basic Rules (3)
  • Question order
  • Easy ? difficult
  • General ? particular
  • Factual ? abstract
  • Starting questions
  • Simple
  • With closed format
  • Relevant to main subject
  • Non-threatening
  • Neither demographic nor personal questions
  • Be aware of ordering effects!

21
Basic rules (4)
  • Group questions by
  • Topic/ response options
  • Dont put most important item last
  • Questionnaire likely to be completed if
  • relevant
  • logical

22
Introduction of questionnaire
  • Covering letter/introduction for interview
  • Who you are
  • Who you work for
  • Why you are investigating/researching
  • Where you obtained the respondents name
  • How and where you can be contacted
  • Absolute guarantee of confidentiality
  • Length of interview (be honest)

23
Ensuring a High Response Rate
  • Ensure respondents see its potential and
    usefulness

24
Content of Questions
  • Clear focus on research question
  • Avoid sidetracking
  • Avoid unnecessary information
  • Demographic information
  • Contact information (if non-anonymous)

25
Format of Questions
  • Adjust to responding audience
  • Professionals vs. public
  • Middle class vs. prisoners
  • Keep sentences simple and short
  • Define key words

26
Format of questions
  • Two main question formats
  • Closed format ? give a fixed response
  • Yes, No, Dont know
  • Always, sometimes, never
  • Open format ? allow people to express their
    views in their own words
  • What is your most distressing symptom? Please
    describe ________________________________________
    ____________________________________________

27
Open or Closed?
  • Closed forced choice
  • Advantages
  • Simple and quick
  • Reduces discrimination against less literate
  • Easy to code, record, analyze
  • Easy to compare
  • Easy to report results
  • Disadvantages
  • Restricted number of possible answers
  • Loss of information
  • Possible compromise
  • Insert field

28
Open or Closed?
  • Open format free text
  • Advantages
  • Not directive
  • Allows exploration of issues - generate
    hypothesis
  • Used even if no comprehensive range of
    alternative choices
  • Good for asking about knowledge and attitudes
  • Detailed and unexpected answers possible
  • Disadvantages
  • Answer depends on interviewer
  • Time-consuming
  • Coding problems
  • Difficult to analyze!
  • Difficult to compare groups

29
Problems and Pitfalls
  • Avoid leading questions
  • Avoid making questionnaire too long
  • Typographical / spelling errors

30
Presentation and layout
  • Using color or printing questionnaire on colored
    paper may help
  • Use filter questions, if necessary
  • Give clear instructions about how to answer the
    questions

31
Summary
  • A well designed questionnaire
  • Will give appropriate data which allow to answer
    your research question
  • Will minimise potential sources of bias, thus
    increasing the validity of the questionnaire
  • Will much more likely be completed

32
FINALLY, keep your questionnaire short and the
questions simple, focused and appropriate
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