Data & Question Types
Quantitative Data: Data that focus on numbers and frequencies. Strengths: 1) Can provide meausres of many characteristics of people. 2) It is useful for studying large numbers of people. Weaknesses: Results are limited as they provide numerical descriptions rather than detailed narrative.
Qualitative Data: Data that describes meaning and experiences. Strengths: 1) Data based on the participants own categories of meaning. 2) Useful for studying a limited number of cases in depth. Weaknesses: 1) It is difficult to to make quantitative predictions. 2) Data analysis is often time consuming.
Open Questions: Questions that allow the respondent to give their own answer. Strength: Variety of Answer Weakness: Difficult to draw general conclusions.
Closed Questions: Questions which provide limited choice of responses. Strength: Allows you to draw a general conclusion. Weakness: Not as much info.
Questionnaires can use a variety of different question types and they can be handed out. emailed/posted, face to face or phone. Questionnaires use other specific types of questioning techniques. For exaple they will use rating scales in order to obtain quantitative data that expresses degrees of opinion or forced choice questions.
Rating Scales: Respondents are asked on a scale to state how strongly they agree with a statement. Strength: Make detailed set if results of information about participants feeling. Weakness: Soles only have meaning compared to other people's responses on that scale.
Forced Choice: Respondent only has a choice among given responses. Strengths: 1) Easy to measure and quantify. 2) Forces the participants not to choose a middle option. Weaknesses: 1) Participants may feel that their desired responses aren't available. 2) Answers aren't in depth.
Interviews are a type of spoken questionnaire where the interviewer records the responses. Strength of self report methods is that they are allowing participants to describe their own experiences rather than interferring this from observing them.
Structured Interviews: Is a quantitative research method commonly employed in survey research. Strength: Enables the researcher to examine the level of understanding a respondent has about a particular topic- slightly more in depth than a postal questionnaire. Weakness: Can be time consuming if sample group is very large.
Unstructured Interviews: A method of interviews where questions can be changed or adapted to the resondent's intelligence. Strength: May encourage openess in answers. Weakness: Possible interviewer effects.
Weakness of self report
Social Desirablity: When participants answer in a certain way to portray themselves in a good light.
Demand Characteristics: Participants know they are being tested and attempt to please the experimenter and produce the behaviour that they think he or she wants.
Response Rates: The proportion of those people include a social survey who actually reply or respond to the questions asked. A high response rate us important to help ensure that findings are representative.
Leading Questions: A question that prompts or encourages the desired answer.