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ERIC Number: EJ848711
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-1056-7879
Getting Good Results from Survey Research: Part III
McNamara, James F.
International Journal of Educational Reform, v13 n4 p356-373 Fall 2004
This article is the third contribution to a research methods series dedicated to getting good results from survey research. In this series, "good results" is a stenographic term used to define surveys that yield accurate and meaningful information that decision makers can use with confidence when conducting program evaluation and policy assessment studies. The specific intent of this article is to elaborate guidelines one can use to construct survey research questionnaires. Although experienced policy researchers and program evaluation specialists can profit from the elaboration of these guidelines. The primary audience for this article is practitioners who are expected to conduct survey research studies on the job. The elaboration of guidelines for questionnaire construction is organized into eight sections. Guidelines presented in the first three sections focus on a general orientation to questionnaire design and use. The remaining five sections elaborate guidelines that deal with specific decisions to be made for each of the four essential questionnaire construction tasks. These tasks are (a) constructing individual questionnaire items, (b) creating a questionnaire format in a way that makes it easy for respondents to understand and answer all questionnaire items, (c) conducting all relevant pilot tests before the questionnaire is distributed to respondents identified in the survey sample, and (d) preparing a cover letter (technically called the letter of transmittal) that communicates the purpose and importance of the survey, the reason why respondent information is needed, and how questionnaire findings will be used to improve organizational programs and policies. Each of these five elaborations first identifies an essential aspect of questionnaire construction, and then recommends one or more places in the survey research literature (reference sources and specific chapters) that can be used to guide the completion of the tasks at hand. The few reference sources identified in these elaborations were chosen for two primary reasons. They provide a rich set of examples practitioners could easily adapt for their own use. They also provide comprehensive checklists or inventories of explicit guiding principles practitioners can use to continuously evaluate the results of their questionnaire construction efforts. Finally, each of the eight elaborations includes a research design note (published in a separate section following the Summary and Implications). These notes are used to extend the narrative on individual guidelines introduced in the text. (For Part II, see EJ848663.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A