9. Survey Design

It has been said that the development of good data collection and content analysis instruments is more of an art than

The Statistical Reliability Calculator. Oh yes!

Image by get down via Flickr

it is a science. The researcher who is developing an instrument which purports to get into the minds of the subjects must, in fact, try to do so before writing the questions. Any confusion on the subjects’ part will introduce error variance that is buried in the data, making the outcome questionable. Most of us have experience frustration in completing a survey because the questions were not understandable. This unintelligible instrument was certainly not operational, and to be operational must be considered the first requirement of good instrumentation.
Every author-researcher who writes textbooks or reports says virtually the same thing about the problem of instrumentation: it is a problem because the writer always knows what he or she means, while the reader may not. Therefore, we need some guidelines to craft effective survey instruments. Data collection forms must also be carefully designed to ensure data collection is not biased by the researcher.

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