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Selecting the Survey Method

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According to Instrumentation

Sampling Issues
Instrument Design
Types of Surveys

The most important methodological challenges of a survey methodologist include making decisions on how to: The sample is chosen from the sampling frame, which consists of a list of all members of the population of interest.

This generalizing ability is dependent on the representativeness of the sample, as stated above. Each member of the population is termed an element. There are frequent difficulties one encounters while choosing a representative sample. One common error that results is selection bias. Selection bias results when the procedures used to select a sample result in over representation or under representation of some significant aspect of the population.

In order to minimize selection biases, stratified random sampling is often used. This is when the population is divided into sub-populations called strata, and random samples are drawn from each of the strata, or elements are drawn for the sample on a proportional basis. There are several ways of administering a survey.

The choice between administration modes is influenced by several factors, including. Different methods create mode effects that change how respondents answer, and different methods have different advantages.

The most common modes of administration can be summarized as: There are several different designs, or overall structures, that can be used in survey research. The three general types are cross-sectional, successive independent samples, and longitudinal studies.

In cross-sectional studies, a sample or samples is drawn from the relevant population and studied once. A successive independent samples design draws multiple random samples from a population at one or more times. Such studies cannot, therefore, identify the causes of change over time necessarily.

For successive independent samples designs to be effective, the samples must be drawn from the same population, and must be equally representative of it. If the samples are not comparable, the changes between samples may be due to demographic characteristics rather than time. In addition, the questions must be asked in the same way so that responses can be compared directly. Longitudinal studies take measure of the same random sample at multiple time points.

Longitudinal studies are the easiest way to assess the effect of a naturally occurring event, such as divorce that cannot be tested experimentally. However, longitudinal studies are both expensive and difficult to do. This attrition of participants is not random, so samples can become less representative with successive assessments. To account for this, a researcher can compare the respondents who left the survey to those that did not, to see if they are statistically different populations.

Respondents may also try to be self-consistent in spite of changes to survey answers. Questionnaires are the most commonly used tool in survey research. However, the results of a particular survey are worthless if the questionnaire is written inadequately. A variable category that is often measured in survey research are demographic variables, which are used to depict the characteristics of the people surveyed in the sample.

Reliable measures of self-report are defined by their consistency. It is important to note that there is evidence to suggest that self-report measures tend to be less accurate and reliable than alternative methods of assessing data e. Six steps can be employed to construct a questionnaire that will produce reliable and valid results. The way that a question is phrased can have a large impact on how a research participant will answer the question. A respondent's answer to an open-ended question can be coded into a response scale afterwards, [5] or analysed using more qualitative methods.

Survey researchers should carefully construct the order of questions in a questionnaire. The following ways have been recommended for reducing nonresponse [7] in telephone and face-to-face surveys: Brevity is also often cited as increasing response rate.

A literature review found mixed evidence to support this claim for both written and verbal surveys, concluding that other factors may often be more important. Survey methodologists have devoted much effort to determining the extent to which interviewee responses are affected by physical characteristics of the interviewer. Main interviewer traits that have been demonstrated to influence survey responses are race, [13] gender, [14] and relative body weight BMI. Hence, race of interviewer has been shown to affect responses to measures regarding racial attitudes, [16] interviewer sex responses to questions involving gender issues, [17] and interviewer BMI answers to eating and dieting-related questions.

The explanation typically provided for interviewer effects is social desirability bias: Interviewer effects are one example survey response effects. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Statistics Canada publication, see Survey Methodology. Research methods in psychology 9th ed. Hand , Advising on Research Methods: A consultant's companion pp. Johannes van Kessel Publishing. On the other hand, the types of surveys according to the span of time used to conduct the survey are comprised of cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal surveys.

In survey research, the instruments that are utilized can be either a questionnaire or an interview either structured or unstructured. Typically, a questionnaire is a paper-and-pencil instrument that is administered to the respondents. The usual questions found in questionnaires are closed-ended questions, which are followed by response options. However, there are questionnaires that ask open-ended questions to explore the answers of the respondents.

Questionnaires have been developed over the years. Today, questionnaires are utilized in various survey methods , according to how they are given.

These methods include the self-administered, the group-administered, and the household drop-off. Among the three, the self-administered survey method is often used by researchers nowadays. The self-administered questionnaires are widely known as the mail survey method.

However, since the response rates related to mail surveys had gone low, questionnaires are now commonly administered online, as in the form of web surveys. Between the two broad types of surveys, interviews are more personal and probing. Questionnaires do not provide the freedom to ask follow-up questions to explore the answers of the respondents, but interviews do.

An interview includes two persons - the researcher as the interviewer, and the respondent as the interviewee. There are several survey methods that utilize interviews. These are the personal or face-to-face interview, the phone interview , and more recently, the online interview.

The span of time needed to complete the survey brings us to the two different types of surveys: Collecting information from the respondents at a single period in time uses the cross-sectional type of survey.

Cross-sectional surveys usually utilize questionnaires to ask about a particular topic at one point in time. Sometimes, cross-sectional surveys are used to identify the relationship between two variables , as in a comparative study. An example of this is administering a cross-sectional survey about the relationship of peer pressure and cigarette smoking among teenagers as of May When the researcher attempts to gather information over a period of time or from one point in time up to another, he is doing a longitudinal survey.

The aim of longitudinal surveys is to collect data and examine the changes in the data gathered. Longitudinal surveys are used in cohort studies , panel studies and trend studies.

This article is a part of the guide:

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The essence of survey method can be explained as “questioning individuals on a topic or topics and then describing their responses” (Jackson, , p).

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This third definition of survey is a specific type of survey research. Here are the three specific techniques of survey research: Questionnaires - a series of written questions a participant answers.

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Survey Research Survey research is one of the most important areas of measurement in applied social research. The broad area of survey research encompasses any measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents. Survey research is a commonly used method of collecting information about a population of interest. There are many different types of surveys, several ways to administer them, and many methods .

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In survey research, independent and dependent variables are used to define the scope of study, but cannot be explicitly controlled by the researcher. Before conducting the survey, Fundamentals of Survey Research Methodology. The different types of surveys are mainly classified into the survey methods according to instrumentation and according to the span of time involved in conducting the survey, Home Research.