For your class project, I recommend an Interview.
A "survey" basically means an Interviews or a Questionnaire
This page is about shared issues, and how to choose between them.
For specific tips see:
Interview or Survey?
|You can only do 1-2 interviews a day ||You can send 10000|
|Need to do it in person ||Can email or post|
|Cannot be anonymous. ||Can be anonymous|
|Not good for embarrassing questions ||A little better for embarrassing questions|
|Everyone will probably finish ||Many questionnaires will go in bin|
|Flexible - you can add questions ||Fixed - once you send it you can't change|
|Hard to analyse (transcribe, code) ||Easier to analyse (especially if closed)|
|Interviewer can change (bias) questions ||Questions always the same (reliable)|
|Can see body language, expressions ||No body language, etc.|
Interviews are best for finding out what a few people think/do when you are not sure.
Questionnaires are best for checking something is true with a large number of people
This means interviews are better than questionnaires for undergraduate projects because usually:
- You will have a small number of subjects
- You don't know exactly what you are looking for ...
- ...so it is hard to write good questionnaire questions
- You can change interviews as you learn - you don't have to perfect first time
Writing good survey questions
Why are these bad questions?
- Do you enjoy dyadic interaction in your ESP class?
- In which ways have you and which ways have you not changed the way you teach based on your experience as a learner and as someone who lives in a foreign country?
- What would be the best way to learn Japanese for a Canadian student?
- What wouldn't you avoid doing if you were not in Japan?
- How much do you weigh?
- How much homework do you do every night?
- When did you stop stealing bicycles?
- Do you agree that punishing students, when done by a good teacher, is a good thing?
- How much time do you spend on the internet: 5-10 hours per week, 2-5 hours per week, 0-2 hours per week
Principles of Question Writing
Can you match any of the above questions to the problems below?
- Don't use words your participant doesn't know.
- Avoid double questions
- Don't ask participants to guess what other people might think
- Don't ask participants about topics they don't know
- No double negatives
- Be careful with embarassing questions
- Be careful with questions where participant might want to impress or give "right" answer
- "How many books have you read?"
- "How many have you had time to read?"
- Be careful with multiple choice - they need to cover everything and not overlap
- Avoid loaded questions (questions with no escape - a "bang" in both ends)
- Avoid leading questions (questions that show what answer you want)
- Add check questions "How many books did you read last week?"
Types of questions
- OPEN questions
- (When you don't know what people do or how they will answer)
- e.g. What is your favourite band?
- CLOSED questions
- (when it is yes/no, or a small range of choice)
- e.g. Do you prefer salmon or tuna?
- How many/how often/where/when + abcd choice