Quiz 13: Questionnaires and Instruments
Direct and indirect questions Communication based research study can be conducted by using telephone survey, personal interview, emails etc. All survey researches are conducted using questionnaire technique, which is prepared based on the objectives of the research study in order to measure the responses and test the hypothesis. The questions designed in the communication research can be direct or indirect. Indirect questions are disguised type in which respondent is not revealed about the objectives and sponsor of the research. The purpose of disguised questions is to receive unbiased responses. Direct questions are those which are asked to the research participants about their own actions and behavior and it may provide bias responses from respondents. For instance: if a hacker is asked whether he do ethical hacking (direct question), the response may not reveal his true feelings as it defines his actions. If this question is asked using projective technique i.e. whether hackers follow ethics while doing it for personal use, then the response involve the respondent's true feelings and opinions. In short, direct questions are asked about respondent's own behavior and indirect questions are asked to respondents to say about the other people's behavior. Open ended and closed questions There are three categories of measurement questions in questionnaire: administrative questions, classification questions and target questions. Among these three categories, target questions are used to address the investigative questions of particular research study. These questions can be structured or unstructured. Structured questions are closed questions, which are presented with fixed options to the respondents. Unstructured questions are open ended questions in which responses are not limited and respondents have choice of free words. For instance: The closed ended question is asked as follows: Do you like partying a. I like b. sometimes I prefer c. I don't like. If the same question is asked in the open ended type, the response can be elaborative that expresses reasons for like or dislike or partially like. Research, investigative and measurement questions Research question is an inquiry to the management dilemma or question that must contribute to provide solution to that dilemma. It is the first step in the research study to have an idea on what to be studied. Investigative questions should be specific and provide detail coverage to the research question. Researcher can get answer to the investigative question by doing survey or other research techniques. Measurement questions are those questions which are answered by the responded and further these responses are recorded and analyzed to provide answer to the management question. Alternative response strategies The response strategy options include closed responses and open responses. Though respondents can express extensively in open responses, but still there can be restrictions in terms of space, choice of words or phrase etc. The categories in the closed responses are multiple choices, ranking, rating, dichotomous etc. The alternative response strategies can involve practicing the questionnaire draft in as many versions as possible to dramatize the bias problems. Moreover, develop the questions in extreme version rather than just expected version. Numeric based responses such as number of people in family, age, income etc are good to be offered in ranges rather than open response question.
The survey technique is popular in business and social science research because so many of the research questions concern human attitudes, levels of knowledge, and other types of cognitive or affective information. Much of this information can be secured only by interrogation, or at least can be secured more efficiently by interrogation than by other means. Then, because we have spent our lives conversing with others, the thought of "asking people" comes naturally.
Investigative questions can be designed using structured or unstructured questions. Structured questions are closed questions, which are presented with fixed options to the respondents. Unstructured questions are open ended questions in which responses are not limited and respondents have choice of free words. In the interviews, the response to the open ended question can be too lengthy and in the questionnaires response is restricted in terms of space or choice of words. In the both the cases, responses are expressed in their own words, which is a significant problem in interpreting and becomes costly in terms of data analysis. These problems can be minimized by choosing alternative response strategy. Numeric based responses such as age, income etc are good to be offered in ranges rather than open response question. Open ended questions are more suitable in those situations, when the research study need to focus more on true feelings, attitudes, life style of the respondents. Mostly open ended questions are used in interview technique and all the content is interpreted by doing content analysis.