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• Survey research can be classified as field studies with a quantitative orientation. Some consider it a variation of the correlational research design. This chapter concentrates on the use of survey research in scientific research and neglects so-called status surveys. Status surveys have a goal different from survey research. Its aim is to learn the status quo rather than to survey the relations among variables; to examine the current status of some population characteristic.
• Only rarely, however, do survey researchers study whole populations; they study samples drawn from populations. From these samples they infer the characteristics of the defined population or universe. • Sample surveys attempt to determine the incidence, distribution, and interrelations among sociological and psychological variables, and in so doing, usually focus on people, the vital facts of people, and their beliefs, opinions, and attitudes.
opinions. socioeconomic status. race. • Sociological facts are attributes of individuals that spring from their membership in social groups: sex. which can be classified as sociological facts. age. education. living expenses. income.Survey Research • The social scientific nature of survey research is revealed by the nature of its variables. political and religious affiliation. . and attitudes. occupation. and so on.
Survey Research • The second type of variable is psychological and includes opinions and attitudes on the one hand. and behavior on the other. they are more likely to be interested in what people think and do. • Survey researchers are interested not only in relations among sociological variables. . and the relations between sociological and psychological variables.
panel. and telephone. .Types of Surveys • Surveys can be conveniently classified by the following methods of obtaining information: personal interview. mail questionnaire. the personal interview far overshadows the others as perhaps the most powerful and useful tool of social scientific survey research. Of course.
The latter are called “scales” in this book.Interviews and Schedules • The term “schedule” will be used. opinions and attitudes. . It has a clear meaning: the instrument used to gather survey information through personal interview. and reasons for behavior. • Schedule information includes factual information. “Questionnaire” has been used to label personal interview instruments and attitudinal or personality instruments. opinions. and attitudes.
Such information is indispensable. religious preference. education. income. political preference. and the like. since it is used in studying the relations among variables and in checking the adequacy of samples.Interviews and Schedules • The factual information gathered in surveys includes the so-called sociological data mentioned previously: gender. . marital status.
are doing now.Interviews and Schedules • Other kinds of factual information include what respondents know about the subject under investigation. present. even if the behavior is only an intention. what respondents did in the past. and intend to do in the future. . In this special sense. and future behavior can all be classified under the “fact” of behavior. past.
and then reinterviewed and studied at a later time. . The panel technique enables the researcher to study changes in behaviors and attitudes.Other Types of Survey Research • The next important type of survey research is the panel. A sample of respondents is selected and interviewed.
. This is especially true when the interviewer is unknown to the respondent. superficial questions. uncooperativeness.Other Types of Survey Research • Telephone surveys have little to recommend them beyond speed and low cost. and by reluctance to answer more than simple. The interviewer then is limited by possible nonresponse.
Other Types of Survey Research • The mail questionnaire has serious drawbacks unless it is used in conjunction with other techniques. the researcher must be content with returns as low as 50% or 60%. Higher percentages are rare. . At best. • Returns of less than 40% are common. Two of these defects are possible lack of response and the inability to verify the responses given.
time-consuming. Although there are means of securing larger returns and reducing deficiencies—follow-up questionnaires. valid generalizations cannot be made. and often ineffectual. and analyzing nonrespondent data—these methods are costly. interviewing a random sample of nonrespondents. .Other Types of Survey Research • Because mail questionnaires produce low returns. enclosing money.
. telephone surveys have the advantage of a higher return rate. However.Other Types of Survey Research • When compared with mail surveys. they are limited to who one can obtain by phone and the brevity of the interview.
The Methodology of Survey Research • Survey researchers uses a flow plan or chart to outline the design and subsequent implementation of a survey. The flow plan starts with the objectives of the survey. • First. lists each step to taken. in principle. Since. . the general and specific problems that are to be solved are as carefully and as completely stated as possible. and ends with the final report. there is nothing very different here from the discussion for problems and hypotheses of Chapter 2.
or city blocks. We must first define large areas to be sampled at random. . school districts. This amounts to partitioning of the universe and random sampling of the cells of the partition. Area sampling is the type most used in survey research. all individuals or families or random samples of individuals and families may be drawn.The Methodology of Survey Research • The next plan in the flow plan is the sample and the sampling plan. Then further subarea samples may be drawn at random from the large areas already drawn. The partition cells may be areas delineated by grids on maps or aerial photographs of counties. Finally.
The Methodology of Survey Research • The next large step in a survey is the construction of the interview schedule and other measuring instruments to be used. After drafts of the interview schedule and other instruments are completed. They are then revised and put in final form. . The main task is to translate the research question into an interview instrument and into any other instruments constructed for the survey. they are pretested on a small representative sample of the universe.
The Methodology of Survey Research • The steps outlined above constitute the first large part of any survey. the researcher also needs to be decide whether the data will be collected using a cross-sectional design or longitudinal design. After the researcher has developed the survey instrument and determined which population to be measured. .
The Methodology of Survey Research • Data collection is the second large part of survey research. and sent out with complete instructions as to whom to interview and how the interview is to be handled. trained. generally by random devices. Interviewers are oriented. . In the best surveys. They must interview those individuals and only those individuals designed. interviews are allowed no latitude as to whom to interview.
The Methodology of Survey Research • The third large part of the flow plan is analytical. . • Content analysis is an objective and quantitative method for assigning types of verbal and other data to categories. • Coding is the term used to describe the translation of question responses and respondent information to specific categories for purposes of analysis.
The reliability of attitude response is harder to determine because a changed response can mean a changed attitude.Checking Survey Data • Some of the respondents can be interviewed again. is high. It has been found that the reliability of personal factual items. • One way of checking the validity of a measuring instrument is to use an outside criterion. and the results of both interviews checked against each other. like age and income. .
They interviewed more than 2. (Their census-sample comparisons showed generally high agreement.500 residents of the United States in 200 locales in 1967. They document the differences in the sampling method between the two samples and note the shortcomings of the more recent sample when compared to the earlier sample. selected by an area probability sampling procedure.Three Studies • Verba and Nie (1972): Political Participation in America.) • Docter and Prince (1997): A Survey of Male CrossDressers. Certain things change over time that make it difficult to obtain the exact same research environment from one time period to another. .
Three Studies • Sue. Instead. neither did they collect the data for the study. . This study may not exactly fit what some would term as survey research. Takeuchi. they used the data supplied from the Automated Information System (AIS) maintained by the Los Angeles. and Zane (1991): Community Health Services for Ethnic Minorities. These researchers did not design the survey for the study . Hu. Fujino.
children. overall design. they can later be tested with random samples of populations and. . plan of research. the results can be generalized to populations of schools. and expert interviewing using carefully and competently constructed interview schedules have had. survey research can be used to test hypotheses already tested in more limited situations.Applications of Survey Research to Education • Survey research’s strong emphases on representative samples. and will continue to have. and laypeople. • Most research in education is conducted using relatively small nonrandom samples. beneficial influence on behavioral research. if again supported. In other words. If hypotheses are supported. with the result that external validity is increased.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Survey Research • Survey research has the advantage of wide scope: a great deal of information can be obtained from a large population. they are economical. . • A first disadvantage is that survey information does not ordinarily penetrate very deeply below the surface. for the amount and quality of information they yield. While surveys tend to be more expensive than laboratory and field experiments and field studies.
Survey research is demanding of time. The probability of such an error can be diminished by building safety checks into a study—by including comparison with census data or other outside information and by independent sampling of the same population. energy.Advantages and Disadvantages of Survey Research • A second disadvantage is a practical one. and money. . • Any research that uses sampling is naturally subject to sampling error.
.Advantages and Disadvantages of Survey Research • A potential. especially by one’s manner and by careful phrasing and asking of questions. rather than an actual. which may make the results of the survey invalid. It is possible for interviewers to limit the effects of lifting respondents out of social context by skilled handling. weakness of this method is that the survey interview can temporarily lift the respondent out of his or her own social context.
called a d-statistic. The results of these individual studies are summarized using measures of effect size.Meta-Analysis • One might say that it is a kind of survey of the literature. Meta-analysis is quantitative and nonexperimental in nature. . Meta-analysis uses the individual studies themselves as the unit of measurement. • Meta-analysis involves taking all of these studies collectively to determine if a similar finding is found again and again under differing situations.
Meta-analysis essentially combines these two.Meta-Analysis • Meta-analysis should not be confused with two other similar approaches: replication and analysis with different models or methods. . looking at different methods and different data. The objective with meta-analysis is to generalize the results to new situations.
it has the support of at least one quantitative index—average effect size—to help in the evaluation. effect size indices can also be compared to each other statistically. Plus. Additionally. It does not require that studies be exactly replicated. at least one problem that has been associated with meta-analysis—the ”file drawer problem. There is. however.Meta-Analysis • Meta-analysis is a method that can summarize the results of many studies conducted on the same or similar topic area.” .