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1. Define your sample
Decide whether data can be collected on everyone involved (a census) or whether you are restricted to collecting information from a smaller group (a survey).
2. Clarify your objectives
3. Develop your questionnaire
Open-ended questions allow the respondent to express an opinion on some matter and could be a single word or a long statement; closed questions require a specific answer e.g. a box to be ticked, items to be ranked, etc. Hint
Likert-type scales are useful for assessing a respondent's attitude to a statement, e.g. strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree. In order to avoid respondents agreeing with a set of statements without thinking clearly about each one, vary positive statements (e.g. I found the package easy to use)with negative statements (e.g. the screens were too cluttered).
b. Design the questionnaire: Hint
4. Practicalities of application
Questionnaires can be:
Check the answers to open-ended questions to see if they have common responses that can be coded up in some way.
There are many ways to usefully present the information from questionnaires visually - bar charts, histograms, scatterplots, etc. Most statistical analysis packages allow these to be produced easily. Spreadsheets can also be used to analyse questionnaire data. However, if a very large survey is being undertaken, it may be worth considering a specialist package such as SphinxSurvey, distributed by Sage Publications (http://www.sagepub.co.uk).
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Last modified: 25 March 1999.