Conducting Educational Research: A Comparative View

By R. Murray Thomas | Go to book overview
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7
Data Collection Techniques II: Tests and Questionnaires

Testing consists of giving people tasks to perform, then judging the adequacy of their performance. The skills that tests are designed to assess can be primarily physical (running, throwing a ball, lifting weights), psychomotor (driving a car, typing information into a computer), or mental (defining words, solving algebra problems, memorizing a poem). Questionnaires consist of sets of questions people answer about their personal attributes, knowledge, or attitudes. Tests and questionnaires are both widely used in educational research, especially in surveys and experiments.

The first section of Chapter 7 describes types of tests and their typical functions in comparative studies. The second section illustrates popular kinds of questionnaires.


TESTS

Tests can be divided into categories according to their sources and their intended functions. The two chief sources of tests used in educational research are formal test publishers and researchers themselves.

Tests issued by publishers are typically of a standardized variety, designed to assess aptitudes or knowledge that educators frequently wish to measure. However, when no available published instruments are deemed suitable for a given study, researchers create tests that precisely fit their needs.


Published Standardized Tests

Broadly speaking, a test is one which has been taken by a large number of people so that the test-makers have been able to determine rather accurately how well a typical student of a particular age, grade-in-school, or type of educational program will succeed on the test. Standards are usually reported in

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