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How to Ask Survey Questions

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How to Ask Survey Questions

  1. 1. + How to Ask Survey Questions Workshop on Survey Design
  2. 2. + Learning Objectives  After this class you will be able to: 1. Construct questions that are clear to your intended audience 2. Construct questions requiring ordered responses or scales 3. Choose among question types 4. Check that questions will provide data that meets your goal
  3. 3. + Exercise 1: Survey Analysis Look over and take the Green Attitudes survey  What are your reactions to the survey?  What did you like about the survey? Dislike?  What do you think about the content and length of the survey?
  4. 4. + Overview of Previous Workshop  Concepts  Checklist of Survey Tasks  Overview of the survey process  Guidelines for Asking Questions  Best practices for question wording
  5. 5. + Review: Guidelines for Asking Questions  Ask purposeful, concrete questions that use conventional language  Avoid bias in words and phrasing  Avoid two-edged questions and negative questions  Use shorter questions  Choosing between Open and Closed Questions
  6. 6. + Review: Selecting Open and Closed Ended Questions  Copy over Use Open Use Closed Purpose Respondents’ own words essential Want data that are rated or ranked and can order the ratings in advance Respondents Are capable and willing to provide answers in their own words Are unwilling or unable to express themselves while being surveyed Questions Prefer open because choices are unknown Using a pre-specified set of response choices Analysis Have ability to analyze variety of comments Prefer to count the number of choices Reporting Provide individual or grouped verbal responses Reports statistical data
  7. 7. + Types of Closed Questions  Categorical: The number next to each response has no meaning except as a placeholder for that response.  Multiple Choice: Select one or more answers.  Ordinal: Assigns a meaningful number to responses, puts things in order.  Likert Scale: To assess a person's feelings about something.  Ranking: Rank things in relation to other things.  Numerical: For real numbers, like age, number of months.
  8. 8. + Advantages of Closed-Ended Questions  Easy to code, enter, and analyze  Easy to present  Quick turnaround  Enhanced reliability  Less researcher bias  High degree of anonymity
  9. 9. + Disadvantages of Closed Ended Questions  Harder to develop questions and response categories  May force invalid responses  Less depth and substance  Respondents unable to explain, qualify, or clarify answer During the past month, have you felt depressed? 0 = No 1 = Yes, once in a while 2 = Yes, some of the time 3 = Yes, most of the time 4 = Yes, all of the time
  10. 10. + 3 Types of Closed Questions 1. Categorical 2. Ordinal  Likert Scale  Ranking 3. Numerical
  11. 11. + Categorical Questions, ex. 1-2  Gender  Male  Female  Transgender  Color of eyes  Blue  Black  Brown  Hazel  Ask respondents to tell which category they fit into  Response choices should be mutually exclusive  Response choices should be inclusive and exhaustive  Use groups that make sense in the survey and will be useful in reporting results  Can allow respondents to choose more than one answer
  12. 12. + Categorical Questions, ex. 3  Ask respondents to tell which category they fit into  Response choices should be mutually exclusive  Response choices should be inclusive and exhaustive  Use groups that make sense in the survey and will be useful in reporting results  Can allow respondents to choose more than one answer  4. My child/children attend(s)  Public school  Non-local public school  Charter school  Private school  Does not attend school yet  Graduated  Other (please specify) __________________
  13. 13. + Exercise 2: Improve Poor Categorical Questions 1. Which one of the following best describes your primary expertise?  Landlord-tenant problems  Consumer problems  Traffic cases  Other (specify) 2. Which of the following best describes you?  Professional  Registered nurse  Nurse practitioner  Administrator  Nurse midwife Professional RN Practitioner
  14. 14. + Ordinal Questions, ex. 1-2  How satisfied are you with how long you can check out books? 1. Very dissatisfied 2. Dissatisfied 3. Satisfied 4. Very Satisfied  What is the highest level of education that you have completed? 1. Elementary school 2. High school graduate 3. Some college 4. College graduate  Use a meaningful scale  Balance all responses  Use don’t know or neutral carefully  Use 4- to 7-point rating scales, with negative end first  Keep uncluttered and easy to complete
  15. 15. + Ordinal Questions: Likert Scales  Considering your reading habits, during the past year how often did you read the following newspapers, journals, and magazines? Circle one number for each periodical. Periodical Never (1) Rarely (2) Sometimes (3) Frequently (4) Always (5) New York Times 1 2 3 4 5 Wall Street Journal 1 2 3 4 5 Cosmopolitan 1 2 3 4 5 New England Journal of Medicine 1 2 3 4 5 Sports Illustrated 1 2 3 4 5
  16. 16. + Ordinal Questions: Ranking ex. 1  Rank items against each other  Each item is assigned a number  Don’t make list too long  Can be very confusing, use sparingly Based upon what you have seen, heard, and experienced, please rank the following brands according to their reliability. Place a "1" next to the brand that is most reliable, a "2" next to the brand that is next most reliable, and so on. Remember, no two cars can have the same ranking . __ Honda __ Toyota __ Mazda __ Ford
  17. 17. + Ordinal Questions: Ranking ex. 2  Rank items against each other  Each item is assigned a number  Don’t make list too long  Can be very confusing, use sparingly
  18. 18. + Exercise 3: Improve Poor Ordinal Questions 1. How satisfied were you with your hotel stay?  Completely Satisfied, Very Satisfied, Pretty Satisfied, Satisfied, A Little Satisfied, Slightly Satisfied, Unsatisfied, Don’t Know 2. Please rate your instructor on the following criteria
  19. 19. + Numerical Questions  Numerical: For real numbers, like age, number of months. 1. How old are you? 2. In what year were you born? 3. what is your annual income?
  20. 20. + Types of Closed Questions  Categorical: The number next to each response has no meaning except as a placeholder for that response.  Multiple Choice: Select one or more answers.  Ordinal: Assigns a meaningful number to responses, puts things in order.  Likert Scale: To assess a person's feelings about something.  Ranking: Rank things in relation to other things.  Numerical: For real numbers, like age, number of months.
  21. 21. + Survey Goals Revisited  What question or questions are you trying to answer?  What information do you need to decide upon an answer?  What actions will you take when you have the survey’s results?  Start or stop doing something?  Make a purchase?  Select content for a class?  Who is your audience?
  22. 22. + Every Question Should Have a Purpose  Keep your survey as short as possible  Every question should provide data you will use to make a decision  Don’t automatically include questions you’ve seen before  Don’t just use questions that are about your topic without thinking about the resulting actions possible from the data  Be sure that every answer will cause you to do something differently  Don’t ask questions just to satisfy curiosity
  23. 23. + Exercise 4: Survey Audience and Goals  Look over your group’s survey  Green Attitudes : 5-8, 10, 29  Great Streets : 20, 26-28, 35  Vogue Knitting: 5-6, 9, 12, 28, 29, 47  What were the goals of the survey creator?  Who is the audience of the survey?  Look carefully at each question  Will the data gathered meet the goals of the survey?  Will the answers to any individual question make a choice clearer?
  24. 24. + Kinds of Information  Copy over Description Example Knowledge What people know; how well they understand something True or False:The most effective weight loss plan includes exercise. Belief What people think is true; an opinion Do you think that lower food prices would increase consumption? Attitude How people feel about something; a preference Do you favor or oppose a smoking ban in your county? Behavior What people do; can be mental or physical Have you ever attended a Library workshop? Attributes What people are; what people have Demographics: What year do you plan to graduate?
  25. 25. + When to Use Categorical Questions  Can be used to find all types of information, but answer choices are limited  To ask many questions in a short time period  When there are a finite number of options  Be careful in analysis  Cannot compare one item to another  Can create a frequency distribution  If only one answer allowed, you don’t have data about the other answers
  26. 26. + When to Use Ordinal Questions: Ranking  Best used to assess attitudes and knowledge  To rate things in relation to other things  When there are a finite number of options  Be careful in analysis  There is not a meaningful interval between choices  Can create a frequency distribution or cumulative frequency distribution  Cannot average, add, subtract data
  27. 27. + When to Use Ordinal Questions: Likert-Scale  Best used to assess beliefs and attitudes  Sample scales  Very dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, somewhat satisfied, very satisfied  Strongly disagree, disagree somewhat, uncertain, agree somewhat, strongly agree  Be careful in analysis  Be sure your intervals are meaningful and equal  Can average, add, subtract, and create frequency distributions
  28. 28. + When to Use Numerical Questions  Best used for attributes (demographics)  For precise real numbers, not ranges  Can analyze using most methods  Multiply, divide, average, add, subtract, and frequency distributions  If your survey tool doesn’t support this data type, you can approximate with an open-ended question  You will have to manually analyze data
  29. 29. + Exercise 5: Matching Question Types to Goals 1. Name one action you might you take with each goal’s results. 2. What type of data do you need to meet each goal? 3. What question type will help you get that data? 4. Write a sample question for each goal.  Goal 1: Determine if patrons know what services we offer at the Reference Desk.  Goal 2: Determine if people are satisfied with the wait times at the Circulation Desk.  Goals 3: Determine if the respondents to your survey are representative of the whole campus.
  30. 30. + Don’t Forget…  Ask enough demographic questions to ensure that your intended audience is represented  Ask as few questions as possible  Don’t ask too many open-ended questions  Will lower response rate  One is usually enough  Don’t have too many Likert-scale questions in a large block
  31. 31. + Learning Objectives Revisited  After this class you will be able to: 1. Construct questions that are clear to your intended audience 2. Construct questions requiring ordered responses or scales 3. Choose among question types 4. Check that questions will provide data that meets your goal
  32. 32. + Templates

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