ERIC Number: EJ852567
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: 10
Getting Good Results from Survey Research: Part One
McNamara, James F.
International Journal of Educational Reform, v12 n4 p275-288 Fall 2003
This article is the first of 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 decision makers can use with confidence to identify current practices that merit continuation and to create or modify policies, programs, and services that can improve organizational efforts to serve all clients. The specific intent of this first article in the series is to address six basic concerns that contribute to a better understanding of the purposes, procedures, and benefits of survey research. The first two concerns focus on answering two general questions practitioners (and in some cases the policymakers to whom they report) frequently ask about surveys. The other four concerns deal with four distinct research design errors that can seriously compromise the validity of survey research findings. Here the emphasis is on first recognizing the potential research design error and then providing guidelines for how the error can be avoided by careful research design planning. These survey planning guidelines should prove to be equally helpful to practitioners who plan to conduct a survey and practitioners who are designated as the persons responsible for commissioning a survey to be conducted by either an outside consultant or a local committee such as a campus improvement committee. With these concerns in mind, the balance of this article is divided into two parts. The first part offers answers to the two general research questions. The second part presents four elaborations, one for each research design issue. At seven strategic points, the text makes references to research design notes that provide additional information for practitioners. These seven research design notes are published in a section that follows the summary and implications.
Descriptors: Research Design, Research Methodology, Guidelines, Educational Research, Surveys, Educational Policy, Validity, Research Problems, Sampling, Computer Assisted Testing, Test Construction, Educational Technology, Measurement, Questionnaires
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Authoring Institution: N/A