Identify the general steps in developing the different types (i.e., formats) of questionnaires, and the forms of data-collection appropriate to each one. List four components of the strategy to move from a very large, general social question, toward a specific and answerable question of sociological interest, including C. Wright Mills' statements about what make a work a sociological study.
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There are three types of questionnaire formats that are applied during research for purposes of data collection.
Structured questionnaires are questionnaires that only include closed questions. Closed questions are questions with a predetermined choice of answers and the respondent is only required to make a choice between the available options. This type of questionnaire yields quantitative data and is mostly employed in studying trends.
Unstructured questionnaires are questionnaires that only include open questions. Open questions are questions that the respondents are free to answer in their own words without any restrictions. These type of questionnaires mostly yield qualitative data
Semi-structured questionnaires are questionnaires that blend both structured and unstructured question elements.
During the questionnaire development process, the researcher considers the research question and objective, which will be used as a guide, to ensure the correct responses are received in order to answer the question and meet the research objectives. Thus it is imperative to collect some background information about the respondents and include screening questions to ensure only the right respondents are engaged in the study. Questions addressing the specific objectives of the study are formulated and included in the questionnaire. A pilot study can then be conducted to ensure the actual respondents would adequately respond to the questionnaire when it is finally administered.
A variety of data collection methods are employed when administering questionnaires and these include:
Face to face: where the researcher administers the contents of the questionnaire in oral form. This is best for unstructured questionnaires.
Paper and pencil: where the researcher administers the questionnaire in paper format and the respondents are required to fill in their responses. This is best for structured questionnaires.
The components for narrowing down a research question to ensure the study is answerable and testable include:
- Assessment of relevant existing knowledge
- Contextualizing the encountered knowledge
- Concept formulation
- Question statement formulation
According to C. Wright Mills and especially from his work on social imagination, a social study is required to develop an understanding between an individual’s personal experiences in relation to general history. Thus a social study is required to address issues raised by biography (peoples’ experiences), history (evidence of their experiences) and the meeting point between the two.
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