A. Creating a Sociological Study
B. Primary Methodologies for Gathering Research
Further, divisive measures that may be employed are those of specifying whether the information to be collected in a particular study should be empirical data or categorical data.
The ideal study formulation entails:
(1) Theory predicts the results of the experiment.
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(3) Fault found in the theory and remedied.
C. Survey Creation
In order to ascertain whether your survey questions will produce valid findings, you need to consider the purpose and context of the survey in order to determine whether or not the assumptions that you have made are relevant. While using a particular survey question may produce valid findings for the focus of one particular study, it may not yield the same results for a study focused on a different topic. For example, take a survey designed to measure employee morale at Company XYZ. The same questions may or may not be able to also accurately assess employee productivity.
In order to determine whether the questions of a particular survey would generate valid results, you first need to assess whether the questions have been purposely and accurately designed in line with the objectives of the study.
The three main components of validity are distinguished by content, criterion, and construct.
Content validity evaluates whether the survey questions accurately represent the topic being addressed.
Criterion-related validity entails the calculation of a validity coefficient (more commonly, a correlation coefficient) found by correlating the survey questions with another measure connected to the objective of the study, to service satisfaction, or to the number of referrals.
Construct validity looks at what is being measured by focusing on the relationship, or correlation, between components, such as motivation or satisfaction.
Of the three, content is the simplest, while criterion and construct involve more complex analyses. For instance, with the construct, one needs to employ theoreticals, meaning a theory of how the data could be correlated, for example, mathematically, in order to identify how one construct relates to another within the study. Relationship patterns need to be created, and those patterns need to be examined.
While these validity concepts can be highly useful, they also take some statistical understanding and analytical know-how to be implemented properly.
The general rule of thumb is that the more individuals who are surveyed or observed, the greater the accuracy of the survey results. Because the majority of thoroughly comprehensive methodologies are either impossible or cost-prohibitive, statisticians and researchers have to make do with surveys that attempt to accurately reflect the populist view.
Traditionally, the goal of most surveys is to contact the minimum number of people necessary to produce the most accurate estimates of sentiments that will reflect the wider target population.
Validity and Reliability
Because a survey can be no more valid than it is reliable, these two core components of any survey or study should each receive equal amounts of time and energy to ensure that they are up to code.
F. Survey Areas Needing Attention
In going back to the general design of your survey, there are four principal issues that need to be addressed:
- Respondent attitude. This refers to how much of an imposition a respondent may feel when asked to answer a couple of questions.
- Nature of questions. Bear in mind, some people find it offensive to be asked personal questions. Even those that are not so personal, such as political party affiliation, can come across as being not for public knowledge.
- Cost. Typically, a company or organization has allocated only so much money to designing a particular survey.
- Ability of the research tool to produce results relevant to the objectives of the study. A sensible link needs to be in place between the questions and the study objective. If you need only brief, snippet-type answers, a short questionnaire may work incredibly well. If you are seeking longer, more in-depth responses, you may need to switch your methodology to an in-person interview.
Thus, there are many aspects of conducting survey research, including survey design, useful constructs, gathering of empirical versus categorical information, and ensuring the study's validity and reliability. It is important to take into consideration the range of factors that may potentially affect findings and, based upon such, adjust applicable questions before distributing the survey.
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