Ch. 10 A & Q

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the mail questionnaire?

2. Why is the timing of questionnaire mailing important?

3. What type of survey research would you use to study drug users? Defend your choice.

4. Suppose that you are involved with an investigation designed to survey the attitudes of
rural residents toward welfare programs. You plan to use a mailed questionnaire and
you have selected your sample. Write the cover letter to accompany this instrument.

5. List and describe the basic principles of interviewing.

6. Briefly discuss the schedule-structured, non-schedule-structured, and non-scheduled
interviewing techniques.

7. Compare and contrast the personal interview and the mail questionnaire.

8. Write an essay on the principles of interviewing.

9. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of the personal interview with those of the
telephone interview.


Answers:

 1. The advantages of the mail questionnaire are low cost, reduction in biasing error, greater
anonymity, considered answers and consultations, and accessibility. The disadvantages
are the requirement of simple questions, no opportunity for probing, no control over who
fills out the questionnaire, and low response rate.
 

2. The timing of mailing has been shown to affect the response rate of mail questionnaires.
For example, because summer and holidays produce the lowest response rate, it is not
advisable to conduct the first wave of a mailing during those times.
 

3. Obviously, there is no absolutely "best" choice and you will use your own evaluative
techniques in judging the individual student responses.
4.
 

5. The first step in the interviewing process is getting the respondent to cooperate and to
provide the desired information: The respondents must feel that their interaction with
the interviewer will be pleasant and satisfying; they need to see the study as being
worthwhile; and the barriers to the interview in the respondents' minds need to be
overcome. After the interview has begun, the questionnaire should be followed, but it
can be used informally. The interview should be conducted in an informal and relaxed
atmosphere. The questions should be asked exactly as worded in the questionnaire.
Each question should be read slowly and should be presented in the same order as in the
questionnaire. Every question specified in the questionnaire should be asked. Questions
that are misinterpreted or misunderstood should be repeated and clarified.
 

6. The least flexible personal interview form is the schedule-structured interview. In this
technique, the number of questions and the wording of the questions are identical for all
of the respondents. The non-schedule-structured or focused interview takes place with
respondents known to have been involved in a particular experience and it is focused on
the subjects' experiences regarding the situations under study. The most flexible form of
personal interviewing is the nonstructured or nondirective interview. Here, the
researcher does not employ a schedule to ask a prespecified set of questions, nor are the
questions asked in a specified order.
 

7. There are a number of advantages of the personal interview in comparison to the mail
questionnaire: flexibility, control of the interview situation, high response rate, and
collection of supplementary information. There are also a number of disadvantages: The
cost of interview studies is significantly higher than that of mail surveys. The very
flexibility that is the chief advantage of interviews leaves room for the interviewer's
personal influence and bias. And, the interview lacks the anonymity of the mail
questionnaire.

 8. The first step in the interviewing process is getting the respondent to cooperate and to
provide the desired information. The respondents must feel that their interaction with
the interviewer will be pleasant and satisfying; they need to see the study as being
worthwhile; and the barriers to the interview in the respondents' minds need to be
overcome. After the interview has begun, the questionnaire should be followed, but it
can be used informally. The interview should be conducted in an informal and relaxed
atmosphere. The questions should be asked exactly as worded in the questionnaire.
Each question should be read slowly and should be presented in the same order as in the
questionnaire. Every question specified in the questionnaire should be asked. Questions
that are misinterpreted or misunderstood should be repeated and clarified.
 

9. There are distinct advantages of the telephone interview: moderate cost, speed, high
response rate, and high-quality data. The disadvantages include: Respondents may be
hesitant to discuss some issues over the phone; respondents can terminate the interview
before it is completed; and interviewers cannot provide supplemental information about
the respondents' characteristics or environment.