ERIC Number: ED306305
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Seeking Consensus on Empirical Characteristics of Effective Mail Questionnaires: A First Step.
Clark, Sheldon B.; Boser, Judith A.
A study was undertaken to develop a checklist of desirable characteristics of mail questionnaires. The checklist was to reflect some degree of consensus among experts in survey research and to be used as a general guide by novice questionnaire designers. A second objective was to take a first step toward development of an objective measure of quality of questionnaires. A review of the literature on the design of mail survey questionnaires indicated that seven categories were most essential in influencing response rate and quality of responses to mail questionnaires: (1) general appearance; (2) instructions; (3) choice of items; (4) order of items; (5) item format; (6) choice of response options; and (7) wording. A survey instrument based on the literature review was formulated. Six authors of books on survey research and six members of the American Educational Research Association's Special Interest Group on Survey Research in Education were surveyed; five of the former and six of the latter responded to the survey. Results are disappointing. The reluctance of the experts to indicate that any but the most fundamental of characteristics were applicable to all mail surveys underscores the often-stated principle that questionnaires should be tailored to the particular population being surveyed. Alternative approaches to future research are enumerated. Eleven data tables are included. The "Desirable Characteristics of Mail Questionnaires" Questionnaire is appended. (TJH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A