Survey Research - Constructing the questionnaire - Open versus closed questions

9 important questions on Survey Research - Constructing the questionnaire - Open versus closed questions

What is a closed-ended (structured, fixed-response) question?

It asks a question and gives the respondent fidex responses from which to choose.

What are the advantages of closed questions?

  • It is easier and quicker for respondents to answer.
  • The answers of different respondents are easier to compare.
  • Answers are easier to code ans statistically analyze.
  • The response choices can clarify question meaning for respondents.
  • Respondents are more likely to answer about sensitive topics.
  • There are fewer irrelevant or confused answers to questions.
  • Less articulate or less literate respondents are not at a disadvantage.
  • Replication is easier.

What are the disadvantages of closed questions?

  • They can suggest ideas that the respondent would not otherwise have.
  • Respondents with no opinion or no knowledge can answer anyway.
  • Respondents can be frustrated because their desired answer is not a choice.
  • It is confusing if many response choices are offered.
  • Misinterpretation of a question can go unnoticed.
  • Distinctions between respondents answers may be blurred.
  • Clerical mistakes or marking the wrong response is possible.
  • They force respondents to give simplistic responses to complex issues.
  • They force peopple to make choices they would not make in the real world.

What are the advantages of open questions?

  • They permit an unlimited number of possible answers.
  • Respondents can answer in detail and can qualify and clarify responses.
  • Unanticipated findings can be discovered.
  • They permit adequate answers to complex issues.
  • They permit creativity, self-expression, and richness of detai.
  • They reveal a respondent's logic, thinking process, and frame of reference.

What are the disadvantages of open questions?

  • DIfferent respondents give different degrees of detail in answers.
  • Responses may be irrelevant or buried in useless detail.
  • Comparisons and statistical analysis become very difficult.
  • Coding responses is difficult.
  • Articulate and highly literate respondents have an advantage.
  • Wuestions may be too general for respondents who lose direction.
  • Responses are written verbatim, which is difficult for interviewers.
  • A greater amount of respondent time, thought and effort is necessary.
  • Respondents can be intimidated by questions.
  • Answers take up a lot of space in the questionnaire.

Which two types of errors can you make regarding nonattitudes and the middle positions?

Accepting a middle choice when respondents actually hold a nonneutral opinion, or forcing respondents to choose a position or an issue when they have not opinion about it.

What is a quasi-filter question?

You offer respondents a ''don't know'' alternative.

What is a full-filter question?

You first ask respondents whether they have an opinion, then you ask for the opinion of those who stated that they have an opinion.

What is an open (unstructured, free-response) question?

It askes a question to which respondents can give any answer.

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