Introduction to survey research design



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INTRODUCTION TO SURVEY

RESEARCH DESIGN

Linda K. Owens

Assistant Director for Research Planning

Survey Research Laboratory

SRL Spring 2005 Seminar Series




http://www.srl.uic.edu

WHY DO A SURVEY?


1. Uniqueness: gather information not available from other sources

2. Probability Sampling: unbiased representation of population of interest


3. Standardization of measurement: same information collected from every respondent



4. Analysis needs: use survey data to compliment existing data from secondary sources

BASIC SURVEY DESIGNS


  • Cross-Sectional Surveys: Data are collected at one point in time from a sample selected to represent a larger population.




  • Longitudinal Surveys = Trend, Cohort, and Panel


Trend: Surveys of sample population at different points in time
Cohort: Study of same population each time data are collected, although samples studied may be different
Panel: Collection of data at various time points with the same sample of respondents.

MODES OF SURVEY ADMINISTRATION


  • Personal (Face-to-Face)




  • Telephone




  • Mail




  • Web




  • Combination of Methods

HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON THE MODE OF DATA COLLECTION?

Population

+

Characteristics Of The Sample

+

Types of Questions

+

Question Topic

+

Response Rate

+

$$ Cost $$

+

Time

PERSONAL INTERVIEWING
ADVANTAGES:


  • Generally yields highest cooperation and lowest refusal rates

  • Allows for longer, more complex interviews

  • High response quality

  • Takes advantage of interviewer presence

  • Multi-method data collection


DISADVANTAGES:


TELEPHONE INTERVIEWING
ADVANTAGES:

  • Less expensive than personal interviews

  • RDD samples of general population

  • Shorter data collection period than personal interviews

  • Interviewer administration (vs. mail)

  • Better control and supervision of interviewers (vs. personal)

  • Better response rate than mail for list samples


DISADVANTAGES:

  • Biased against households without telephones, unlisted numbers

  • Nonresponse

  • Questionnaire constraints

  • Difficult to administer questionnaires on sensitive or complex topics

MAIL SURVEYS
ADVANTAGES:

  • Generally lowest cost

  • Can be administered by smaller team of people (no field staff)

  • Access to otherwise difficult to locate, busy populations

  • Respondents can look up information or consult with others


DISADVANTAGES:

  • Most difficult to obtain cooperation

  • No interviewer involved in collection of data

  • Need good sample

  • More likely to need an incentive for respondents

  • Slower data collection period than telephone

COMPARISON OF DATA COLLECTION METHODS




Variable

Mail

Phone

F/F

Cost


Cheapest

Moderate

Costly
Speed
Moderate

Fast

Slow
Response rate

Low to moderate

Moderate

High
Sampling need

Address

Telephone number

Address

Burden on respondent
High

Moderate

Low

Control participation

Of others

Unknown

High

Variable

Length of


Questionnaire

Short

Moderate

Long

Sensitive questions
Best

Moderate

Poor

Lengthy answer choices
Poor

Moderate

Best

Open-ended responses

Poor

Moderate

Best

Complexity of

Questionnaire

Poor

Good

Best

Possibility of interviewer bias

None

Moderate

High



WEB SURVEYS
ADVANTAGES:

  • Lower cost (no paper, postage, mailing, data entry costs)

  • Can reach international populations

  • Time required for implementation reduced

  • Complex skip patterns can be programmed

  • Sample size can be greater


DISADVANTAGES:

  • Approximately 40% of homes own a computer; 30% have home e-mail

  • Representative samples difficult - cannot generate random samples of general population

  • Differences in capabilities of people's computers and software for accessing Web surveys

  • Different ISPs/line speeds limits extent of graphics that can be used



PAPER VS. COMPUTER ADMINISTRATION



PAPI: Paper and Pencil Interviewing
CAI: Computer-Assisted Interviewing
CATI: Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing
CAPI: Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing
CASI: Computer-Assisted Self-Interview
Audio-CASI: Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview
ADVANTAGES OF COMPUTER ADMINISTRATION


  • Operational Issues




  • Cost Comparisons




  • Time to Complete

  • Reduction in Interviewer Errors


Branching

Insertion of Data

Instant Editing


  • Data Available Faster After Collection


WHICH ACRONYM?
PAPI is recommended for studies with pre-screening phase (i.e. when desired respondent not known)

CATI now standard for RDD surveys

CASI works well for sensitive issues

Audio-CASI works well for
Low Literacy

Non-English-Speaking Populations

OPERATIONAL/COST ISSUES


  • Computers Increase Up-Front Effort



  • Data Entry Reduced or Eliminated



  • Questionnaire Complexity, Revisions



  • Cost Comparisons



ISSUES TO CONSIDER


  • What is your research question?




  • What is your target population?




  • What do you know about this population?




  • Do you have a sample frame? What shape is it in?




  • Do you have an existing questionnaire?




  • By when do you need your data?




  • How much money do you have?

WHAT FACTORS INTO THE COST?

  • professional time required to write, program questionnaire

  • professional time to design and implement sample plan

  • questionnaire length

  • condition of the sample frame

  • availability of the sample for interview

  • the saliency of the topic to the population

  • interviewer hiring and trainings

  • callback procedures

  • eligibility criteria (screening is VERY expensive)

  • geographic dispersion of the sample (phone, personal)

  • postage, mailing costs (mail)

  • travel for interviewers to sample and to SRL (personal)

  • coding, data entry

SUGGESTED READINGS

Aday, L.A. Designing and Conducting Health Surveys, second edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996.


Biemer, P., Groves, R., Lyberg, L., Mathiowetz, N., and Sudman, S. (eds.). Measurement Errors in Surveys. New York: Wiley, 1991.
Dillman, D. Mail and Telephone Surveys: The Total Design Method. New York: Wiley, 1978.
Dillman, D. Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. New York: Wiley & Sons. 2000.
Fink, A. and Kosecoff, J. How to Conduct Surveys: A Step-by-step Guide. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1985.
Fowler, F.J., Jr. Survey Research Methods, Second edition. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993.
Groves, R. Survey Errors and Survey Costs. New York: Wiley, 1989.
Groves, R., Biemer, P., Lyberg, L., Massey, J., Nicholls, W., II, and Waksberg, J. (eds.). Telephone Survey Methodology. New York: Wiley, 1988.
Lavrakas, P.J. Telephone Survey Methods: Sampling, Selection, and Supervision. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993.
Lessler, J.T. and Kalsbeek, W.D. Nonsampling Error in Surveys. New York: Wiley, 1992.
Lyberg, L., Biemer, P., Collins, M., deLeeuw, E., Dippo, C., Schwarz, N., and Trewin, D. (eds.). Survey Measurement and Process Quality. New York: Wiley, 1997.
Marín, G. and Marín, B.V. Research with Hispanic Populations. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1991.
Turner, C.F. and Martin, E. (eds.). Surveying Subjective Phenomena (2 volumes). New York: Russell Sage, 1984.
Journals: Public Opinion Quarterly and Journal of Official Statistics


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