The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

By Martyn Denscombe | Go to book overview

9

Questionnaires
There are no cast iron guarantees that following a set of practical guidelines will lead to the production of a good questionnaire. Guidelines, however, do help, and this chapter contains checklists which are based on 'good practice'and which spell out some fundamentals for avoiding the production of a bad questionnaire.

There is no 'golden formula' which, if slavishly ad-
hered to, will ensure success and fend off all potential
criticisms. Almost inevitably, the researcher will need
to apply discretion, make trade-offs and exercise judge-
ment when producing and implementing a question-
naire.

There are many types of questionnaires. They can vary enormously in terms of their purpose, their size and their appearance. To qualify as a research questionnaire, however, they should:
Be designed to collect information which can be used subsequently as data for analysis. As a research tool, questionnaires do not set out to change people's attitudes or provide them with information. Though questionnaires are sometimes used for this purpose – for instance, as a way of marketing a product – it is not strictly in keeping with the spirit of a research questionnaire, whose purpose is to discover things.
Consist of a written list of questions. The important point here is that each person who answers the particular questionnaire reads an identical set of

-144-

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The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Strategies for Social Research 3
  • 1: Surveys 6
  • 2: Case Studies 30
  • 3: Internet Research 41
  • 4: Experiments 61
  • 5: Action Research 73
  • 6: Ethnography 84
  • 7: Phenomenology 96
  • 8: Grounded Theory 109
  • Part II - Methods of Social Research 131
  • 9: Questionnaires 144
  • 10: Interviews 163
  • 11: Observation 192
  • 12: Documents 212
  • Part III - Analysis 231
  • 13: Quantitative Data 236
  • 14: Qualitative Data 267
  • 15: Writing Up the Research 284
  • Frequently Asked Questions 299
  • References 302
  • Index 307
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