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Social Surveys. Part 1 of 2 on Surveys and Sampling.

Graham R Gibbs2012-10-24
research#survey#self-completion#coding#piloting#quantitative#social survey#face-to-face interviews#social research#stages of surveys#research design#how to
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💫 Short Summary

Surveys are crucial for research, ensuring representativeness and generalizability. Proper questionnaire design is essential, starting with research questions before crafting questions. Different survey methods like web, email, or face-to-face interviews offer advantages and challenges. Response rates vary based on survey method, with in-person interviews yielding higher rates. Data cleaning and analysis are crucial for accurate results, especially in large-scale surveys. Longitudinal studies provide valuable data but require significant effort. Objective and unbiased interviewing practices are necessary to eliminate bias and ensure accurate data collection.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Importance of Surveys in Research Design.
Surveys come in various types like online surveys and sampling-based surveys.
Generalizability is key to ensuring survey samples accurately represent the population.
Surveys collect standardized data through questionnaires, interviews, or observations.
Consistency in asking the same questions to every individual in the sample is crucial for reliable data collection and analysis.
Importance of Sampling in Surveys
Surveys often use standardized questionnaires on large samples to ensure representativeness and generalizability to the population.
Sampling is crucial for representative samples and understanding the population being studied.
Not all surveys require sampling, especially for small populations where surveying every individual is feasible.
Surveys aim for high response rates and may involve convenience sampling due to large populations.
Importance of Surveys in Research and Data Collection.
Surveys are widely used in commercial companies and social scientific research, often required for funding applications.
The mixed methods approach, combining qualitative and quantitative data, is increasingly popular in survey research.
Key books like the DeVellis book offer comprehensive guidance on survey design, implementation, and sampling.
Other essential texts from University Press and Sage also provide valuable resources for survey researchers.
Importance of Proper Questionnaire Design in Surveys.
Start with research questions and general ideas based on social theory, rather than writing questions immediately.
Common mistake of focusing on question wording too early in the process is highlighted.
Understanding the goals of the survey first is stressed.
Planning the survey structure and objectives upfront is crucial to avoid wasting time and resources on poorly designed questionnaires.
Importance of defining research questions and creating a sample for a study.
Defining the sample based on specific criteria related to the research questions is crucial.
Designing a questionnaire is the next step, traditionally on paper but now commonly done online.
Online surveys are convenient for distribution and receiving responses.
Challenges exist in ensuring a high response rate, with considerations on human psychology affecting survey completion.
Importance of testing and piloting questionnaire designs.
Testing with different individuals representing the target population helps ensure effectiveness and unbiasedness.
Crafters often assume they understand perspectives, leading to potential issues in surveys.
Even experienced researchers should pilot questionnaires to identify and address issues.
Feedback from a diverse group provides valuable insights for improving survey design.
Survey methods vary in efficiency and time consumption.
Web surveys are the most efficient, while face-to-face interviews are the least efficient.
Fieldwork in social sciences involves collecting data and observing, regardless of the method used.
Self-responses on paper or web surveys are common.
The choice between postal and electronic delivery methods impacts efficiency.
Methods of survey distribution and importance of prompt completion.
Different methods include web/email or in-person interviews.
Flexibility in survey design is crucial for optimizing responses.
Strategies for improving response rates, such as in-person distribution for increased engagement.
Response rates vary based on survey method, with personal interactions potentially yielding higher rates.
Challenges of measuring response rates in surveys.
Online surveys have lower response rates compared to postal surveys.
Careful editing and coding of questionnaires is essential for data accuracy.
Insights from the Coping project, which surveyed families with a parent in prison.
Use of statistical packages like SPSS for data analysis and computer entry editing.
Challenges faced in conducting a survey in four countries and languages led to interpretation issues with instructions, scales, and questions.
Data cleansing was necessary for consistency and accuracy in large-scale surveys.
Significant effort is required in cleaning and interpreting data after collection.
The analysis process involves converting questions to numbers and interpreting results, which can be expedited with the right tools.
Results of the survey need to be written up and published for accessibility to others.
Advantages of remote interview methods.
Remote methods like web, email, or paper questionnaires offer easy access to participants, lower costs, and anonymity.
Anonymity in online surveys.
Online surveys can be anonymous, making it difficult to identify respondents.
Encouraging honest responses and increasing participation.
Assuring anonymity in research studies can lead to more honest responses and increased participation.
Importance of Face-to-Face Interviews in Data Collection
Face-to-face interviews have higher response rates due to respondents taking questions seriously in person.
Ambiguity and lack of seriousness are common in remote surveys, leading to potential data inaccuracies.
Respondents may get bored and not complete surveys properly, posing a risk to data quality.
Researchers should carefully design questionnaires to ensure clarity and minimize uncertainties in remote data collection.
Impact of Interviewer Appearance on Responses in a Study.
The presence of a wedding ring on interviewers during a study in the 1950s resulted in significantly different responses on topics related to sexual relations.
Subtle differences in interviewer appearance can influence results, showcasing the importance of eliminating bias in interviews.
Interviewers, whether in person or remotely, can impact responses through their demeanor and appearance.
Objective and unbiased interviewing practices are crucial to ensure accurate data collection.
Advantages and disadvantages of face-to-face surveys versus remote questionnaires.
Potential biases in face-to-face interactions and impact on response honesty.
Exploration of different survey designs: simple surveys, opinion polls, and panel surveys.
Importance of good sampling methods for survey accuracy, especially in panel surveys.
Insights into various survey types and their applications in research.
Various survey methods are discussed, including opinion polls, panel surveys, rotating sample surveys, and longitudinal surveys.
Panel surveys involve asking the same group of people questions over a period of time.
Longitudinal surveys track the same individuals over years or decades, providing insights into causality and changes over time.
An example of a longitudinal survey is the study of children born in a certain year, allowing researchers to observe changes in health, marriage, job issues, and education as the subjects age.
Importance of staying connected with people who have moved away for research purposes.
Government funding supports these initiatives due to costs and time constraints.
Longitudinal studies provide valuable data but are difficult to execute within a limited timeframe.
Challenges highlighted by a past PhD student studying families with long-term illness.
Short-term studies are encouraged for more feasible research outcomes.