Questionnaires and Surveys

Questionnaires and Surveys







Questionnaires and Surveys

Questionnaires and surveys are useful tools in research across all fields of study, including psychology. Questionnaires and surveys determine the success of a research. Therefore, a good questionnaire should be well structured and thought before it is used, in order to have a questionnaire that gets the intended response or information considering they are used for getting quick information from a large number of participants. In psychology, they aim at finding out information concerning attitudes, opinions, comments, behavior of people and knowledge among other issues (Week 9, 2011). Questionnaires have many advantages such as saving time used for interviewing, offer easier to correlate information, and reduce bias. However, for this to be realized, the questionnaire must be well designed. Designing a questionnaire involves several steps, which if followed keenly, can produce excellent results.

The first step in designing questionnaires is deciding on the information that the research will be seeking to find out. A questionnaire cannot be written without a research topic, for which the questions will be seeking to answer. This step gives a focus to the questionnaire, ensuring it does not get out of the topic intended. This also means being able to find out what information one needs from the participants in order to achieve the objectives of the study. To find out how to get the best information by defining the topic, one can review previously researched work on the same topic to find out what variable led to what information. Different information such as behavior, attitude and knowledge among other topics need different questions (Week 9, 2011).

The next step would be defining who the targeted participants are. The kind of people to be used in the survey matter a lot in the designing of a questionnaire. If the information targets a general group of people, then the questionnaire should not formulate questions they cannot answer. There are several factors to take in to consideration, such as the status of the people being used, their age, education, conditions. This helps in formulating questions they can answer, and which they are comfortable with. The questions should not be to shallow for a higher educated class or to complex for a general population.

The next step is deciding on the content of the questions, and the type of questionnaire to use, whether self-administered, or aided (Week 9, 2011). It could also have open-ended questions or closed ones. To define the content of the questions, three steps that can be followed to get the best content for best response. The first is identifying what variables are involved, that are of interest such as psychological stability, emotional stability, and well-being of the participant. The second step is coming up with an operational definition of the variables. The final step is turning the definitions into questions, which is the same as formulating a means of measuring the variables identified (Week 9, 2011). This way, good questions focused on the topic of the survey can be achieved. The questions should be easy to answer, and questions on scales should be decided well concerning the number of options to use (Cohen, n.d.).

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