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Questionnaire Design Asking Questions with a Purpose
Mary G. Marshall Program Development & Evaluation The Texas A&M University System CONTENTS Constructing a Questionnaire Kinds of Information Wording the Questions Response Option Guidelines Types of Questions Close-Ended Questions with One Choice Answers Two Option Response One Best Answer Rating Scale Ordered Choice "Other, Please Specify" Items in a Series Paired Comparisons Matching Close-Ended Questions with Multiple Choice Answers Check All That Apply Lists Ranking Open-Ended Questions Fill in the Blank One Question Structured Four Different Ways Formatting the Questionnaire Pretesting the Questionnaire References 3 4 6 9 11 12
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 24 26
CONSTRUCTING A QUESTIONNAIRE
For many evaluation activities, questions will be the main source of information. As a series of questions in written form, a questionnaire is a tool for getting similar information from people that permits numerical tabulation and discussion. An alternative method for acquiring information is an interview, but it is verbal in form. Writing questions and constructing a questionnaire takes time and attention. The starting point is to know what kind of evidence is needed to meet the purpose of the study and to know how the information is to be used. * * Make a list of what you want to know. What do you really want to find out? What do you want to achieve through the use of the questionnaire? From the beginning, think through what you will actually do with each piece of information. What do you want to be able to say? Do you expect to use frequencies, counts, percentages, rankings, multivariate analysis? Ask a question only when it has a purpose, if it is directly related to the purpose of the study. A tendency to collect more and more data adds to costs in time and money and results in information overload. Eliminate all the "nice to know" pieces that aren't essential. Eliminate ambiguous questions. Check to see if the information is already available. Many questions are unnecessary. In writing questions, look through the respondent's eyes: Will the question be seen as reasonable? Will the question infringe on the respondent's privacy? Will the respondent be able and willing to tell you what you want to know? Be selective and realistic. Know what information is needed, why it is wanted, and how you will use the information.
understand. and what they think. a preference. are aware of. Choices implied in belief questions include what did or did not happen. what they have. should/should not. Any one or a combination of these types of information may be included in a questionnaire. For example: What is the major cause of accidental deaths among children inside the home? The most effective weight loss plan includes exercise. satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Words typically used in attitude questions include: prefer/not prefer. present or future reality. Questions may seek perceptions of past.KINDS OF INFORMATION A questionnaire can help you collect information about what people do. KNOWLEDGE .what people think is true. know. feel or want. Five different types of information may be distinguished. TRUE-FALSE BELIEF .what people know. The ideal refrigerator temperature is . Beliefs are judgments of what people think is true or false. Such questions ask people to indicate whether they have a positive or a negative feeling about a subject. does positive self-esteem among adolescents prevent drug abuse? Do you think that lower beef prices would increase beef consumption? ATTITUDE . desirable/undesirable. what one thinks exists or does not exist. favor/oppose. accurate/inaccurate. what they value. These questions ask what people know. an opinion. what is accepted as true or factual. Choices implied in knowledge questions include correct/incorrect. For example: Do you favor or oppose controlled calving for your operation? Do you agree or disagree that eating beef causes heart disease? .how people feel about something. how well they understand something. For example: In your opinion.
questions related to each type of information present different writing problems. occupation. For example: Where do you currently live? How many children do you have? What percentage of your household income comes from off-farm employment? To write meaningful questions.BEHAVIOR .what people do Ñ may be a physical/manual or mental behavior. be clear about the intended uses and type of information desired. To get the type of information you want. the questionnaire may elicit attitudes and beliefs when the intent is to document actual behavior. behaviors and attributes tend to be more direct. income. you must ask the right question! . For example: Have you ever attended an Extension program about cotton production? Do you treat your cotton for bollworms? How are you currently using the information gained in the food storage workshop? ATTRIBUTES . questions about knowledge. If questions are vague. what they are doing now. education. Questions concerning attitudes tend to be more difficult to phrase. The response or information you obtain is only as good as the question. what people have. Careful attention should be given to the wording of such questions. given the complexity underlying most attitudes. Questions on attributes ask people about who they are rather than what they do. Questions about behavior ask people what they have done in the past. Likewise. In contrast. Attributes are a person's personal or demographic characteristics such as age.what people are. or what they plan to do in the future.
11 to 15. county. Provide a statement summarizing points of the policy that distinguishes it.WORDING THE QUESTIONS Wording questions to gain what is wanted and also to be understood by all respondents is a challenging task. * * * * * . or September 1997 through August 1998. consider three things: 1) the particular people for whom the questionnaire is being designed. older people [how old?]. or foreign phrases. A question about older youth should specify what age or grade is considered as "older. Include all necessary information. 1997-98." And in the question "How many times did your 4-H club meet last year?" the year should be specifiedÑ1997. federal?]. People's lives are usually not so orderly that they can recall exactly how many times they ate out last year or how many Extension meetings they attended in 1996. For example: Do you agree or disagree with the county's new environmental policy? Respondents may not know what the policy is or whether it is the most recent one. weekly?]. In some cases. or the last 12 months. 6 to 10. governmental [city. etc. Will respondents understand what is meant by such terms as issue-based programming. In writing questions. Do any words have double meanings or are any words confusing? Be specific. Use clear wording. Examples of vague terms include these: majority [more than half of what?]. such as 0 to 5. Avoid questions that may be too precise. IMPAC programs? Or the technical terms that professionals commonly use as short-cuts. twice weekly. respondents may not know enough to adequately answer the question. learning experiences. 2) the particular purpose of the questionnaire. * Use simple wording. state. often [daily. but don't talk down to them. Words such as regularly and occasionally mean different things to different people. and 3) how questions will be placed in relation to each other in the questionnaire. Adapt wording to the vocabulary and reading skills of people who will be asked for information. To help respondents formulate an answer. jargon. Avoid using abbreviations. they response category might provide a range for selection. Some suggestions appear below.
This exampleÑ "Do you favor legalization of marijuana for use in private homes but not in public places?" Ñgives respondents no way to say whether they favor both places. Also. oppose home but favor public use. followed by the question of concern. Make sure that only one answer is possible. ethnic background. One method is to ask respondents to select from among broad categories [income less than $10. In this exampleÑ "Did the poultry production seminar help you to identify ways to improve the sanitation and increase the nutrition of your cage bird operation?" Ñit would be better to ask about sanitation and nutrition separately.* Phrase any personal or potentially incriminating questions in less objectionable ways. Two questions written together gives no opportunity for people to respond in favor of one part or the other. drug use. A set of questions would be preferred with the first question establishing the situation. Such questions influence people to respond in a way that does not accurately reflect their position. Other double questions may be unduly ambiguous.] instead of specifying precise information. or eating habits may be objectionable to respondents.000. what is your philosophy of 4-H leadership? Use mutually exclusive categories. or oppose legalization as a concept in general. b) at work. e) from a friend. Avoid making assumptions.999. The respondent may have heard about the seminar from a friend at work. etc. d) from the newspaper. In the example of "How did you hear about the Extension seminar?" the response categories are: a) from the Extension office. . f) at an Extension meeting. * * * * * Avoid bias in questions. In 25 words or less. a series of questions may be used to soften or overcome the questionable nature of certain information. "How many children do you have?"] Avoid double questions. c) from a relative. so that more than one answer is possible on this list. $10. Being asked to indicate income level. For example: "Do you have children?" YES/NO [If yes. $20.000 to $19. Examples are: Rank the following 15 items in order of their importance to you. $30. that the respondent has friends in to eat. oppose both places.000 to $29.999. A question can be biased in several ways: 1) when the question implies that the respondent should be engaged in a particular behavior. Questions such as "How many children do you have?" or "Do you prepare beef when you have friends in to eat?" make assumptionsÑthat the respondent has children.000 and over. Avoid questions that are too demanding and time consuming.
A better question would state: 4. equality. Do you agree that funding for Extension in your county should be increased? 1 NO 2 YES This is a leading question. More farmers in Greater County are using Superb than any other variety of wheat. 3) when words with strong positive or negative emotional appeal are used. Do you use Superb? 1 YES 2 NO This question suggests that the respondent should be using Superb.000 ACRES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 BETTER 0 ACRES 1-200 ACRES 201-400 ACRES 401-600 ACRES 601-800 ACRES 801-1000 ACRES OVER 1000 ACRES * Use complete sentences. . Too often the answers are confusing. not in local order. 3. Some examples of biased questions are shown here: 1. boss.2) when unequal response categories are given or the responses are loaded in one direction. Check for any incomplete sentences. For example: POOR LOGIC POOR SPACING 1 1000 ACRES 1 10 ACRES 2 999-500 ACRES 2 1-9 ACRES 3 499-100 ACRES 3 1 0-99 ACRES 4 99-10 ACRES 4 100-499 ACRES 5 9-1 ACRES 5 500-999 ACRES 6 0 ACRES 6 1. Do you agree or disagree that Extension funding should be increased? (Circle one) 1 STRONGLY AGREE 2 AGREE 3 DISAGREE 4 STRONGLY DISAGREE * Make the response categories clear and logical. or improperly spaced on the page. Trying to keep questions simple and concise may result in questions being too cryptic and misunderstood. etc. 2. such as bureaucratic. How would you rate the housing in which you live? 1 SATISFACTORY 2 GOOD 3 EXCELLENT No negative options are provided.
F. C. These letters or numbers point to the place where the response can be seen. STEERS SOLD * If ONE ANSWER is wanted for the whole question or one answer for each item within the question. Radio Newspaper Senior Center Professional journals Popular magazines Department of Health 1 1 1 1 1 1 VERY LITTLE 2 2 2 2 2 2 SOMEWHAT 3 3 3 3 3 3 VERY MUCH 4 4 4 4 4 4 . COWS SOLD B. "Codes" are the values representing each response on the questionnaire. and the respondent is instructed to fill in the blank. Instructions for answer are the same for each type of question: * FILL IN THE BLANK responses are indicated by a blank line to show the response space. [Write total number on the line. CALVES SOLD C. 6.] A.RESPONSE OPTION GUIDELINES Guidelines to help in answering and in tabulating data have been established by Extension's Data Center to emphasize consistent response instructions.] NOT AT ALL A. D. To what extent do you use the following sources of information when you do educational work with the elderly? [Circle one number for each item. BULLS SOLD D. B. Positional parameters are the numbers/letters which identify each piece of data for computer entry. Would you recommend this program information to your friends and neighbors? [Circle one] 1 NO 2 YES 7. E. numbers (with no periods) are used as the codes for each response. 5. Please list the number of cattle (if any) sold in 1996. and the respondent is asked to circle one choice. "positional parameters" and coding categories.
Each example is coded and the instructions provided are compatible with [Extension Information Technology] Extension Data Center guidelines. HIGH CALCIUM. . SALT/BONEMEAL ¥ c. examples are presented that use the various types of response options. SALT ¥ b.) ¥ a. What types of minerals do you use? (Check all that apply. LOW CALCIUM. HIGH PHOSPHOROUS ¥ e. the respondent is instructed to check all that apply. brackets or boxes are used for marking. In this booklet.* If MORE THAN ONE ANSWER is sought or likely. LOW PHOSPHOROUS ¥ d. EQUAL CALCIUM AND PHOSPHOROUS Using these guidelines will improve data quality by bringing clarity and consistency to Extension-produced questionnaires and improve the tasks of data entry and analysis. 8.
Open-ended questions are those where respondents provide their own answers to the question. The various types of questions are further explained on pages 12 to 19. They allow respondents to express their own thoughts and comments but are more demanding of both the respondent and the person doing the analysis. Responses for closeended questions must be exhaustive [i. Some questions have answers which fall along an implied continuum (rating scales). . Close-ended questions have answer options provided and respondents must select either one answer or multiple answers from what is given. Others have answers in no particular order (lists). These are fill-in-the-blank responses. These questions have greater uniformity in responses but depend on your knowing and including all relevant responses. Each type of question has certain advantages and disadvantages. Some questions have multiple choice (check all that apply) options.TYPES OF QUESTIONS Questions are open-ended or close-ended. and others provide relevant answer choices but respondents are free to add another answer.e. without any previously provided options. with examples of some response options and formatting on page 20 to 23. include all possible answers] and also mutually exclusive in providing for the selecting of a single response [without the choice seeming to belong to more than one option].
questionnaire respondents are asked to tell their choice at the most appropriate point on a scale. Responses are independent of one another. four. 2 THE FOOD I EAT AND HOW MY BODY USES IT. Do you raise stocker cattle? 1 NO 2 YES Depending on the purpose of the information. FALSE-TRUE. Respondents are provided with the list of answers and asked to check or circle the choice they feel is the best. For example: 9. They are appropriate when all relevant answer choices are known and can be listed. using a rating scale or a ranking (when appropriate) offers more information. 3 HAVING TO EAT FOODS I DON'T LIKE. However. Whether you use a scale of three. 4 HAVING GOOD HEALTH. . What does the work "nutrition" mean to you? [Circle one number] 1 GETTING ENOUGH VITAMINS. ¥ ONE BEST ANSWER Ñ These questions can be used to solicit information or to test knowledge. See next page for examples. A greater spread of numbers allows for greater accuracy in statistical analysis. ¥ RATING SCALE Ñ Often. The response options might include: NO-YES. DISAGREE-AGREE. instead of being gradations along a continuum. this may be the most appropriate format and is often used as a beginning question in a series on the same topic. An example follows: 10.CLOSE-ENDED QUESTIONS WITH ONE CHOICE ANSWERS Respondents are given a list of answers and asked to circle the choice that they feel is the best. five or more categories depends on the question and the amount of differentiation that is possible and desired. ¥ TWO OPTION RESPONSE Ñ This is the simplest response format. OPPOSE-FAVOR.
An even number of categories forces the respondent to take a side. A five-point option series seems to be most useful for attitude scaling. Performance Conformation Pedigree Breed OF LITTLE IMPORTANCE 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 HIGHLY IMPORTANT 5 6 5 6 5 6 5 6 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 7 7 7 7 Starting with either positive or negative response options appears to have little effect on response. B. good. fair. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the new zoning code? [Circle one] 1 STRONGLY DISAGREE 2 MILDLY DISAGREE 3 NEITHER AGREE OR DISAGREE 4 MILDLY AGREE 5 STRONGLY AGREE 12. excellent. D. Another decision is whether to provide an even or odd number of response options. Many people may relate best to a ten-point scale. how important are the following traits in your selecting process? [Circle one number for each selection trait] SELECTION TRAIT A. But you must be consistent in the order followed throughout the questionnaire. When purchasing new herd bulls. neither does it matter whether Yes or No is listed first.g. use a numerical scale running from 0 or 1 to some number [see second example above].11. C. This is appropriate when you want to know in what direction the people in the middle are leaning. A fourpoint option series appears useful for ratings [e. Some examples of rating response categories are these: Very Dissatisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Somewhat Satisfied Very Satisfied Strongly Unfavorable Generally Unfavorable Uncertain Generally Favorable Strongly Favorable No Help at All Slightly Helpful Fairly Helpful Very Helpful Strongly Disagree Disagree Somewhat Uncertain Agree Somewhat Strongly Agree Decreased Stayed the Same Increased Poor Fair Good Excellent . For greater differentiation. poor). An odd number of categories provides a middle or neutral position for selection.
the responses are usually intended to measure degree or intensity in an ordered sequence or scale. which gives three positive choices but only one negative option. It is more important to choose those that are most appropriate to the question being asked. PLEASE SPECIFY" Ñ Here the respondent is offered a choice of answers plus an open-ended response category such as "Other (Please specify). They are appropriate when the topic is well defined and the choice represents a gradation along a single dimension. Examples follow with open-ended choices included: 15. STAYED THE SAME. These questions are particularly suited for evaluating attitudes or opinions. describe the extent to which you were included in making important decisions. INCREASED SOMEWHAT. See these examples: 13. How do you feel about this statement: "I wish this community had more recycling centers. but do it where possible. Which of these community recreational facilities to you use the most? (Circle one number) 1 PARKS 2 TENNIS COURTS 3 SWIMMING POOLS 4 OTHER . so think about what you will do with these responses." (circle one number) 1 STRONGLY DISAGREE 2 MILDLY DISAGREE 3 NEITHER AGREE NOR DISAGREE 4 MILDLY AGREE 5 STRONGLY AGREE Responses need to reflect a clear difference and be balanced both positively and negatively. It also means that you will have narrative text to analyze. INCREASED A LITTLE. Too often they are never used because they cannot be entered neatly into the computer. INCREASED A LOT. It is not necessary to use the same categories for each question. Within your 4-H club. ¥ "OTHER." This protects you against leaving out an important answer choice. A poor example is: DECREASED. (Circle one number) 1 NEVER 2 RARELY 3 SOMETIMES 4 OFTEN 14.¥ ORDERED CHOICE Ñ In this type of question.
Fish 1 2 3 4 5 ¥ PAIRED COMPARISONS Ñ Respondents are asked to compare one item to another. How often do you eat the following meats? (Circle one number for each meat) LESS THAN 1-3 TIMES 4-6 TIMES NEVER ONCE/WEEK A WEEK A WEEK DAILY A. Pork 1 2 3 4 5 D.) ¥ MATCHING Ñ Respondents are asked to match responses to a list of items. 18. Poultry 1 2 3 4 5 E. Breads and cereals E. Meat and meat products B. Match each food to the proper food group by putting the correct lower case letter in the blank. ____ WHOLE WHEAT BREAD a. ____ HAM c. Sweets F. it is possible to present the responses in tabular form. In comparing beef to other meats. Lamb 1 2 3 4 5 C. ____ YOGURT d. Fruits and vegetables D. For example: A. ____ PUMPKIN e. Milk and milk products C.] 1 BEEF OR 2 POULTRY 3 BEEF OR 4 LAMB 5 BEEF OR 6 PORK 7 BEEF OR 8 WILD GAME (VENISON. Identify the answer choices with a horizontal bracket which guides respondents to the answer choices. usually expressed in terms of "either/or" or one item "versus [vs] another.16. ETC. c Strawberry A. Beef 1 2 3 4 5 B. ____ OATMEAL . as in the example below. circling the number on that line. What do you consider the main responsibility of your county 4-H agent? [Circle one number] 1 WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO REQUEST HELP 2 WORK WITH 4-H MEMBERS 3 WORK WITH VOLUNTEER 4-H LEADERS 4 PLAN AND ORGANIZE COUNTY YOUTH EVENTS 5 ORGANIZE AND EXPAND NEW 4-H CLUBS 6 OTHER (please specify) ¥ ITEMS IN A SERIES Ñ When various questions use the same response category. ____ NECTARINE b. which does your family use more often? [Choose one from each comparison. 17. 19.
BRUCELLOSIS e. C. LIVESTOCK DEALER 21. Examples: 20. REPRODUCTIVE DISEASES ¥ LISTS Ñ A list provides a series of answers. What information would you like covered in the next Extension workshop? (Check all your choices) ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ a. B.CLOSE-ENDED QUESTIONS WITH MULTIPLE CHOICE ANSWERS ¥ CHECK ALL THAT APPLY Ñ This common response format is actually a series of YES NO items. INTERNAL PARASITES d. CALF DISEASES c. DESCRIBES ME 2 1 1 1 DOES NOT DESCRIBE ME 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 DON'T KNOW A. It is a fast and easy way to obtain such in formation which also saves space.] ¥ a. whether the adjective does or does not describe you. Please indicate for each adjective. LOCAL AUCTION BARN ¥ b. Respondents may choose one or more answers. DIRECT SALES CONTRACT (SELLING FORWARD) ¥ f. that the respondent will not consider each item Ñ so don't make the list too long. D. Listed below are some adjectives that might be used to describe a person. LOCAL MEAT PACKER ¥ c. HEDGING ¥ e. There is a risk. depending on the instructions. TERMINAL MARKET ¥ d. Ambitious 1 Happy Idealistic Outgoing . COW HEALTH b. 22. GRUBS OR TICKS f. however. How do you currently market your cattle? [Check all that apply.
_______ first choice _______ second choice _______ third choice _______ fourth choice a.23. c. Health foods e. Physical conditioning through diet f. third. _______ a. What to eat to look better 2. What would you like to know more about? Select three responses from the list and rank them in order of 1. 1. Weight control d. Health foods e. d. _______ b. How food affects me c. _______ c. Vitamins 25. b. Saving costs in food buying ." See the examples below. (Place the letter of the alphabet on the lines provided. _______ a. How food affects me 3. 3. Ambitious Happy Idealistic Outgoing ¥ RANKING Ñ Rank ordering is a multiple-choice option. second. Reading labels to find the fat content h. What would you like to know more about? Select up to four responses from the righthand column and rank them in order of first. _______ 2. 4. fourth choice. Vitamins g. From the list provided. 24. Respondents are given various responses and asked to rank them in order of importance or indicate a "top three. 1. Physical conditioning through diet f. What to eat to look better b. select THREE adjectives which best describe you. Weight control d. 3. 2. 2. 1. _______ 3.
Often used at the end of a questionnaire to ask respondents for any additional comments they might have (example 4 above). Please list the number of acres. 28. What do you think should be done to improve the Family and Consumer Science program in this county? 27. We are interested in knowing any other comments you might have concerning the 4-H program and your role as 4-H leader. The computer or data enter person can't "magically" tabulate open-ended questions. solicit creative suggestions. ____ ACRES OF OTHER (and specify):_______________________________ * * Useful when respondents are asked to supply a specific answer and a large array of responses is possible (example 3 above) or when all possible answers are not known. of temporary pasture you planed in 1997. 30.] Can be used as a probing question to elicit more detail. ____ ACRES OF OATS C. ____ ACRES OF RYE GRASS D. ____ ACRES OF CLOVER E. they must be categories and summarized. include the unit which is to be used. Please write in the space below any thoughts you'd like to share with us.OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS FILL IN THE BLANK Ñ An open-ended question is often the easiest way to ask a question. ____ ACRES OF SUMMER ANNUALS F. so think about how you will analyze the responses. ____ ACRES OF WHEAT B. Name the five basic food groups. Answers are likely to be varied. but the responses are not easy to analyze. A. if any. 29. or recall information learned [See examples 1 and 2 below. 26. * When asking for a numeric response. Please say how you intend to use the information you gained during the workshop. * * Most often used to stimulate free thought. .
B. C. D. Effective Parenting Child Development Guidance and Discipline Communications ¥ PARTIALLY CLOSE-ENDED What topic do you feel should be the main program emphasis for next year? [Circle number of your answer] 1 Effective Parenting 2 Child Development 3 Guidance and Discipline 4 Communications 5 Other (please specify) ¥ OPEN-ENDED What would you like to see as the main program emphasis next year? .ONE QUESTION STRUCTURED FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS ¥ CLOSE-ENDED WITH UNORDERED RESPONSE CHOICES Which of these four topics would you like most to see as the primary program emphasis for next year? (Circle the number of your answer) 1 Effective Parenting 2 Child Development 3 Guidance and Discipline 4 Communications ¥ CLOSE-ENDED WITH ORDERED RESPONSES How important to you is each of the following possible program emphases? [Circle a number for each item] NONE 1 1 1 1 LITTLE 2 2 2 2 SOME MUCH 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 A.
start with questions about types of insurance. reinforce points that were made in the cover letter. Allow sufficient open space to let the respondent feel it is not crowded and hard to read. Put the more important questions at the beginning. Place demographic questions (age. ¥ Make the first questions nonprovoking and interesting. length. ¥ Begin with an introduction which includes the questionnaire's purpose. Try to use the same type of question/responses throughout a particular train of thought.) at the end of the questionnaire.FORMATTING THE QUESTIONNAIRE As the questions are determined. ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ . It breaks the attention span to have a multiple choice question following a YES/NO question. Make them clearly related and useful to the topic of the questionnaire. followed by a more specific question. to what use the information will go. For example. then an open-ended question. The beginning questions should not be open-ended or questions with a long list of answer choices. and confidentiality. The following guidelines may help in formatting the questionnaire. Put the more general questions first. In mailed questionnaires. gender. Try to keep all questions on one subject together. race/ethnicity. The questionnaire must be pleasing to look at and easy to complete. and order of questions. Arrange the order of questions to achieve continuity and a natural flow. etc. who is conducting it. a series of decisions must be made about the questionnaire format: its appearance. followed by questions about costs of these various types. if you want to find out about a person's knowledge of insurance. purpose of the different types. Use quality print in an easy-to-read type face.
) (Enter whole numbers. Be sure that the question is distinguishable from the instructions and the answers.¥ Always use the same number for the same answer throughout the questionnaire.) (Check all that apply. ¥ . the respondent moves easily down the page. Example: Instead of horizontally: ___ EXCELLENT ___ GOOD ___ FAIR ___ POOR ¥ ¥ ¥ Format vertically: 1 EXCELLENT 2 GOOD 3 FAIR 4 POOR ¥ Give directions on how to answer. It is better to repeat directions too often than not enough.) (Please fill in the blank. As much as possible. put the response blanks in the same location on the page to make tabulation easier. Don't cause respondents to turn a page in the middle of a question or between the question and its answers.) (Please do not use decimals or fractions. Put directions in parentheses immediately after the question. to help in data tabulation and analysis. For example. instead of side to side. Try to arrange questions and answers in a vertical flow. This will save time and money since data can be entered directly from the questionnaire without recoding the responses. This way. Dillman  suggests using lower case letters for questions and upper case letters for answers.) (Circle only one. Specific instructions may include: (Circle the number of your choice.) Pre-code items and response categories as much as possible. Maybe put the instructions in boldface or italics. if you begin with: 1 NO 2 YES then don't switch later to: 1 YES 2 NO Keep the whole question and its answers on the same page.
make it clear who is to answer the question and what should be done by those who aren't supposed to answer. 2) indent all questions that may be screened. Consumers from across the county attended these activities on Money Management Skills. Another important purpose of this survey is to learn how you feel about the work of service organizations in your community. ¥ Some questions may not apply to every respondent. and 3) to break up the monotony of a long series of questions. It is a brief summary of the program's activities and people who were involved. A validation item [Bennett. letter series and short courses. we would like to ask a few questions about you to help us in interpreting the results. For such screening or filtering questions. . For example: The Dell County Extension family life program included a variety of activities during 1997 that focused on teaching money management and budgeting skills to help families better manage their resources. computer budgeting workshops. 2) to start new pages. 1982] at the beginning of the questionnaire identifies the program and sets the stage for the questions to follow. Transitional statements are used in three ways: 1) to signal that a new topic is beginning. Finally. Dillman  makes three suggestions: 1) use arrows to guide respondents from one question to the next. Example transitional statements: Next we would like to ask you several questions about the community organizations you belong to. ¥ It may be useful to make sure that the respondent is referring to the same program and defining it similarly. These activities included lunch and learn programs. or 3) use boxes to direct respondents past the question(s) they don't need to answer.¥ Use transitional statements to build continuity.
OR THIS FORMAT --Q-5 Do you own or rent the home in which you now live? [Circle the number of your answer] 1 OWN HOME (If you own your home) Q-6a How much is your monthly house payment (without property taxes)? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $200 $200 TO $299 $300 TO $399 $400 TO $499 $500 OR MORE 2 RENT HOME (If you rent your home) Q-6b How much is your monthly rent? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $200 $200 TO $299 $300 TO $399 $400 TO $499 $500 OR MORE Q-7a How much per month do you pay for electricity. heat. if any. --.See these examples of screening/filtering questions: Q-5 Do you own or rent the home in which you now live? 1 OWN THE HOME 2 RENT HOME If you rent: Q-6 How much is your monthly rent? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $100 $100 TO $199 $200 TO $299 $300 TO $399 $400 OR MORE > If you OWN. is included in your monthly rent? (Circle all that are included) 1 2 3 4 5 ELECTRICITY GARBAGE HEAT WATER NONE OF THE ABOVE . skip from here to Q-14 on next page. water and garbage collection? 1 2 3 4 5 LESS THAN $30 $30 TO $74 $75 TO $124 $125 TO $199 $200 OR MORE Q-7b Which of these.
Select people like your respondents to "pre-test" the questionnaire. Unfortunately. but find later that the intended respondents did not understand well enough to deal with most questions. Choose people who represent a crosssection of the population that will be given the questionnaire. Consider the reviewers' comments carefully and see how they can enhance the questionnaire. 2 . will greatly increase the quality of information obtained from a questionnaire. After they answer the questions. ease of response. Many practitioners feel that if you don't have the resources to critically test the usability and understandability of the instrument in advance. ask for comments about their impressions Ñ understanding of the purpose. This means a careful examination of the individual questions and the questionnaire as a whole. According to Dillman [1978: 156]. 1 Have colleagues critically review the questionnaire. too many people consider pilot testing as a superficial task they can avoid. several weeks or even months in advance.PRETESTING THE QUESTIONNAIRE Pretesting is an essential part of questionnaire design. one that motivates people to answer it? Are questions answered correctly? (Are some missed? Do some elicit uninterpretable answers?) Does any part of the questionnaire suggest bias on the part of the researcher? Taking the five steps below. any pretest needs to provide evidence about the following questions: Is each question measuring what it is intended to measure? Are all the words understood? Are questions interpreted similarly by all respondents? Does each close-ended question have an answer that applies to each respondent? Does the questionnaire create a positive impression. then don't do the study. questions. Ask co-workers to review all questions to see if wording and instructions are clear Ñ if the questionnaire will accomplish the study purposes. Allow enough time to incorporate any revisions.
. telephone or direct interview. Whether a mail survey. the design stage is nearing completion. Using the responses from people who pretested the questionnaire.3 Simulate the actual data collection procedure as much as possible. as it will be done. either by phone or face-to-face. It is very important also to assess whether the questions produce the data you need to meet the purpose of the study. to see if the questionnaire yields data that can be analyzed. 4 Try the tabulation and analysis procedures. 5 Now prepare and check the final draft. Go over each question until you and other users are satisfied that: Ñ Specific items will contribute to key questions I am trying to answer. Were any questions misunderstood? Were the directions clear? How long did it take to fill out? Was it too long or too difficult? Was there enough space to write in the responses? etc. When responses are adequately understood and yield the type(s) of information you are searching for. Obtain feedback about the form and content of the questionnaire. If a mailed questionnaire. If an interview. Ñ This makes a good impression for mail or meeting distribution. have the interviewer actually conduct the pilot test. Reformulate wherever needed and check the new questions with a new representative group of respondents. take it through a practice run of all the intended steps. have people answer it without any help and afterward obtain their suggestions. do the data entry tabulations and analyze in the way you would to prepare your final report. Ñ Information obtained from the questionnaire will mean something for my study and provide the evidence needed. Revise and re-test.
Fisher. Bob W. GA: Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Barbara J. Corvallis.. REFLECTIVE APPRAISAL OF PROGRAMS (RAP): An Approach to Studying Clientele-Perceived Results of Cooperative Extension Programs. ASKING QUESTIONS. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Manhattan.d. Bradburn. Earl R. Rohs. A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN. CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co. et al. Newsome. Columbus. 1982. 1978. n. Sawer. Bennett. F. MAIL AND TELEPHONE SURVEYS: THE TOTAL DESIGN METHOD. 1986.REFERENCES Babbie.. n.d. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.. 1984. Seymour and Norman M. Extension Computer Technology Group. SURVEY RESEARCH METHODS. College Station: Texas Agricultural Extension Service. 1982. Donald A. Belmont. EVALUATING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY. Kansas State University. Christy and Jeffrey D. Dillman. The Ohio State University. NY: Cornell University Media Services. EDGE. Ithaca. NORTHEAST AREA EVALUATION PROCESS. Richard. KS: Kansas State Cooperative Extension Service. OR: Oregon State University Extension Service. Layman. OH: Ohio Cooperative Extension Service. 1985. Sudman. CONSTRUCTING A QUESTIONNAIRE.GETTING DATA INTO THE COMPUTER MANUALLY. SURVEY DESIGN . QUESTIONNAIRE CONSTRUCTION. 1973. . Athens. Inc. Claude F.
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