Research - Skill - Surveys

Malc Prentice

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?

Interviews Questionnaires

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.

My recommendation

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:

Writing good survey questions

Why are these bad questions?

  1. Do you enjoy dyadic interaction in your ESP class?
  2. 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?
  3. What would be the best way to learn Japanese for a Canadian student?
  4. What wouldn't you avoid doing if you were not in Japan?
  5. How much do you weigh?
  6. How much homework do you do every night?
  7. When did you stop stealing bicycles?
  8. Do you agree that punishing students, when done by a good teacher, is a good thing?
  9. 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?

Types of questions