Questionnaires Flash Cards

  • Created by: frankie.s
  • Created on: 30-11-18 20:01
Practical Advantage
They are quick, cheap way to gather large amounts of data from lots of people. E.g.: Connor and Dewson 2001 posted nearly 4000 questionnaires to students at 14 higher education institutions around the country on factors influencing the decisions of w
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Practical Advantage
There is no need to recruit and train interviewers or observers to collect data, respondents complete and return the questionnaires themselves.  
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Practical Advantage
Data is usually easier to quantify, it can be processed quicker by a computer to revel relationships between different variables.  
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Reliability Advantage
When repeated results should be similar When research is repeated a questionnaire identical to the original one is used so new respondents are asked the exact same questions, in the same order, like the original respondents. With postal and online
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Reliability Advantage
 Reliability means if there is differences in peoples answers, we can assume they are because of real differences between respondents.
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Reliability Advantage
Allow comparisons over time and between different societies, by asking the same questions, we can compare the results in 2 different societies or at 2 different times.
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Hypothesis Testing Advantage
Useful for testing hypotheses about cause-and-effect relationships between variables E.g: educational achievement – analysis of respondents’ answers could show whether there is correlation between children’s achievement levels and family size.
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Hypothesis Testing Advantage
Statements can them be made about possible causes of low achievement and predictions on which children are most likely to underachieve.
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Hypothesis Testing Advantage
Attract Positivist sociologists because they show the possible causes in a scientific approach.
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Detachment and Objectivity Advantage
Positivist favour questionnaires: detached, unbiased & objective method sociologist’s personal involvement is minimised
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Detachment and Objectivity Advantage
Postal questionnaires are completed at a distance and involve little or no personal contact with respondents.
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Detachment and Objectivity Advantage
Good way of maintaining detachment and objectivity.
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Representativeness Advantage
Collect information from large numbers of people – results stand a better chance of being truly representative of the wider population than with other methods that study only small numbers of people.
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Representativeness Advantage
Researchers who use questionnaires tend to pay more attention to the need to obtain a representative sample . More likely to allow us to make accurate generalisations about the wider population from which the sample was drawn.
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Ethical Issues Advantage
Fewer ethical problems than most other research methods .
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Ethical Issues Advantage
Sometimes ask intrusive and sensitive questions – don’t have to answer them!
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Ethical Issues Advantage
Researchers should still gain respondents informed consent, guarantee their anonymity and make it clear that they do not have to answer all the questions.
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Practical Disadvantage
Data tends to be limited and superficial. This is because questionnaires need to be brief so respondents will complete and return them.
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Practical Disadvantage
Sometimes need to offer incentives such as a voucher or prize draw to persuade people to complete the form – this comes at a cost.
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Practical Disadvantage
With postal and online questionnaires the researcher cannot be sure if the respondent has received the questionnaire.
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Practical Disadvantage
Cannot always be sure that the returned questionnaire was completed by the actual respondent.
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Low Response Rate Disadvantage
Those who receive questionnaires may not complete and return them. E.g: Hite’s 2001 study in America, 100,000 questionnaires were sent out but only 4.5% were returned.
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Low Response Rate Disadvantage
To send follow-up questionnaires or get them collected by hand adds to cost and time.
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Low Response Rate Disadvantage
Non-response can occur because of the faulty questionnaire design. Complex language could have been used with was not understood.
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Low Response Rate Disadvantage
Those with stronger opinions are more likely to complete the questionnaire than those with little understanding or knowledge of it.
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Low Response Rate Disadvantage
Hard to tell which groups of respondents have completed it – full time workers or socially isolated people with more time on their hands.
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Inflexibility Disadvantage
Once the questionnaire has been finalised the researcher is stuck with the questions they have decided to ask and cannot explore any new areas of interest should they come up during the research.
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Questionnaires As Snapshots Disadvantage
Questionnaires give a picture of social reality at one moment in time (the moment it was filled in ).
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Questionnaires As Snapshots Disadvantage
Fail to produce a fully valid picture because they do not capture changing attitudes an behaviours.
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Detachment Disadvantage
Interpretivists including Cicourel 1968 argue data from questionnaires does not give a true picture of what has been studies, you can only gain a valid picture by using methods that allow you to get close to the subject of the study.
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Detachment Disadvantage
Questionnaires don’t allow the researcher to be in the same place as the subject.
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Detachment Disadvantage
Lack of consent means there is no way to clarify what the questions mean to the respondent or to deal with misunderstandings, there is no way of knowing whether the respondent and researcher interpret the questions in the same way.
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Lying, forgetting and ‘right answerism’ Disadvantage
Respondents may lie, forget, not know or not understand, try to please or second guess the researcher. E.g: give respectable answers instead of telling the truth.
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Lying, forgetting and ‘right answerism’ Disadvantage
The observer cannot see for themselves what the subjects subject actually does, they can only go by what they say they do.
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Imposing researcher’s meanings Disadvantage
Interpretivists argue that questionnaires are more likely to impose the researcher’s own meaning than reveal those of the respondent.
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Imposing researcher’s meanings Disadvantage
By choosing which questions to ask the research has already decided what is important.
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Imposing researcher’s meanings Disadvantage
Close-ended questions mean respondents have to fit there answer into the options already stated – can’t put any other answer down. Which reduces the validity.
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Imposing researcher’s meanings Disadvantage
Open-ended questions mean respondents can answer in what ever way they want which means: when the researcher codes in the answers to produce quantitative data, similar nut not identical answers could be categorised together.
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Methods in Context:Using questionnaires to investigate education
Sociologists use questionnaires to study: Subject and university choice Bully and experience of schooling Achievement and school factors Parental attitudes to education
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Operationalisation of concepts
Involves turning abstract ideas into a measurable form. This can be difficult when creating a questionnaire for students because their grasp of abstract concepts is less than adults. 'Cultural Capital' language difficulty
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Operationalisation of concepts
Answers may be produced that are based on respondents’ misunderstanding of what the questions mean.
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Operationalisation of concepts
Also the danger that sociologists may have to over-simplify so much that they have hardly any sociological value
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Samples and sampling frames
Schools keep lists of pupils, staff and parents which can provide accurate sampling frames, so representative samples can be made. Schools have ready made opportunity samples of pupils and teachers: classes, forms and departments.
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Samples and sampling frames
Schools may not keep lists that reflect the researcher’s interests. Sociologists might want to take a sample of people in the same ethnic group but schools might not have a sample of each ethnicity group – no sampling frame to draw out a sample.
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Samples and sampling frames
Questionnaires in schools are easy to distribute to potential respondents. The schools permission is needed first. This means that there is more chance of parents getting the questionnaire.
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Samples and sampling frames
Younger children are more open to peer group pressure and it’s difficult to prevent pupils from discussing their answers
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Samples and sampling frames
When the researcher is not there whilst the questionnaire is being completed, helps overcome the problem of status differences between the adult researcher and younger respondent.
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Samples and sampling frames
Questionnaires could appear formal and put pupils off.
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Access and response rate
Response rates to questionnaires are often slow. Schools may be reluctant to allow sociologists to distribute them because of the disruption to lesson or because of the topic.
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Access and response rate
Respondent rates are higher in schools than other areas. Once consent is given there is then the pressure to complete it.
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Access and response rate
Authorisation may be given to take time our of lessons so questionnaires can be completed. The higher response rate is the better the representative sample will be.
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Practical Advantage
Useful for gathering large quantities of basic factual educational information quickly and cheaply.
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Practical Advantage
Rutter 1979 used questionnaires to collect large quantities of data from 12 inner London secondary schools. He was then able to correlate achievement, attendance and behaviour with variables such as school size, class size and number of staff.
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Practical issues
The data generated is limited and superficial. There were no explanations for the correlations.
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Practical issues
Questionnaires need to be understood by children to get the correct outcomes. Children have shorter attention spans than adults so they need to be brief. Children might not also know the answer to the questions being asked.
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Practical issues
Schools have very active informal communication channels. Word of a researcher being present could spread on the ‘grapevine’. Questions could be found out before the questionnaire needs to be completed. This could influence the answers given.
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Practical issues
Teachers are well educated professionals who have experience completing questionnaires. They may be able analyse the patterns of questions &work out the researchers aims and intentions. They may the adjust their answers which produces invalid data.
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Anonymity and detachment
Questionnaires ca be useful when researching sensitive educational matters such as bullying , the anonymity will be kept so they won’t feel embarrassed.
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Anonymity and detachment
Response rates may be higher and pupils may be more likely to reveal details of their experience of being bullied. This produces more valid data than a face-to-face structured interview
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Anonymity and detachment
depends on whether the pupils anonymity is safeguarded, reassurance still might not be enough for them to answer.
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Anonymity and detachment
Disobedient pupils may refuse to cooperate or not take it seriously which gives invalid data.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

There is no need to recruit and train interviewers or observers to collect data, respondents complete and return the questionnaires themselves.  

Back

Practical Advantage

Card 3

Front

Data is usually easier to quantify, it can be processed quicker by a computer to revel relationships between different variables.  

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

When repeated results should be similar When research is repeated a questionnaire identical to the original one is used so new respondents are asked the exact same questions, in the same order, like the original respondents. With postal and online

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

 Reliability means if there is differences in peoples answers, we can assume they are because of real differences between respondents.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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