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7. Types of questions that can be used in a survey research.

Questionnaires can be an effective means of measuring the behaviour, attitudes, preferences, opinions and intentions of relatively large numbers of subjects more cheaply and quickly than other methods.

Survey questions can be divided into two broad types:
1) Closed questions: They structure the answer by allowing only answers which fit into categories that have been decided in advance by the researcher.

a) Dichotomous Questions: Questions having two possible responses such as Yes/No, True/False or Agree/Disagree.



b) Questions Based on Level of Measurement: The level of measurement decides how to interpret the data from that variable and the statistical analyses appropriate to use. Following are the various levels of measurement:
i) In nominal measurement the numerical values just "name" the attribute uniquely. No ordering of the cases is implied. Ex: we measure occupation using a nominal question. The number, next to each response has no meaning except as a placeholder for that response.
ii) In ordinal measurement the attributes can be rank-ordered. Here, distances between attributes do not have any meaning.
Ex: We might ask respondents to rank order their preferences for presidential candidates by putting a 1, 2, 3 or 4 next to the candidate, where 1 is the respondent's first choice.
iii) In interval measurement the distance between attributes does have meaning.
(1) Traditional 1-to-5 rating (or 1-to-7, or 1-to-9, etc.)/Likert response scale: Here, we ask an opinion question on a 1-to-5 bipolar scale (there is a neutral point and the two ends of the scale are at opposite positions of the opinion).
(2) Semantic differential: Here, an object is assessed by the respondent on a set of bipolar adjective pairs (using 5-point rating scale).
(3) Cumulative or Guttman scale: Here, the respondent checks each item with which they agree. The items themselves are constructed so that they are cumulative.

Filter or Contingency Questions
Sometimes you have to ask the respondent one question in order to determine if they are qualified or experienced enough to answer a subsequent one. This requires using a filter or contingency question.

2) Open Questions: They enable the respondent to answer in as much detail as they like in their own words. Example: “can you tell me how happy you feel right now?”

They provide a rich source of qualitative information (i.e. more descriptive than numerical) as there is no restriction to the response. These give no pre-set answer options and instead allow the respondents to put down exactly what they like in their own words. Used for complex questions that cannot be answered in simple categories.

However, they are harder to analyse and make comparisons from.

* * *

Survey research uses open and closed questions to collect quantitative and qualitative data. The closed questions can be categorised as Dichotomous questions or by level of measurement into nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio scales. Filter questions are used to determine if respondent is eligible to answer the following questions.

Sources:
http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/questype.php
http://www.simplypsychology.org/questionnaires.html

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