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How to Conduct Self-Administered and Mail Surveys / Edition 2

How to Conduct Self-Administered and Mail Surveys / Edition 2

by Linda B. Bourque

ISBN-10: 0761925627

ISBN-13: 9780761925620

Pub. Date: 10/22/2002

Publisher: SAGE Publications

"The authors discuss self-administered questionnaires, the content and format of the questionnaire, "user-friendly" questionnaires and response categories, and survey implementation. They offer excellent checklists for deciding whether or not to use a mail questionnaire, for constructing questions and response categories, for minimizing bias, for


"The authors discuss self-administered questionnaires, the content and format of the questionnaire, "user-friendly" questionnaires and response categories, and survey implementation. They offer excellent checklists for deciding whether or not to use a mail questionnaire, for constructing questions and response categories, for minimizing bias, for writing questionnaire specifications, for formatting and finalizing questionnaires, and for motivating respondents and writing cover letters. "

—Peter Hernon, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College

How do you decide whether a self-administered questionnaire is appropriate for your research question? This book provides readers with an answer to this question while giving them all the basic tools needed for conducting a self-administered or mail survey. Updated to include data from the 2000 Census, the authors show how to develop questions and format a user-friendly questionnaire; pretest, pilot test, and revise questionnaires; and write advance and cover letters that help motivate and increase response rates. They describe how to track and time follow-ups to non-respondents; estimate personnel requirements; and determine the costs of a self-administered or mailed survey. They also demonstrate how to process, edit, and code questionnaires; keep records; fully document how the questionnaire was developed and administered; and how the data collected is related to the questionnaire. New to this edition is expanded coverage on Web-based questionnaires, and literacy and language issues.

Product Details

SAGE Publications
Publication date:
Survey Kit Series
Edition description:
Second Edition
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)

Table of Contents

How to Conduct Self-Administered and Mail Surveys: Learning Objectivesxv
1.Overview of Self-Administered Questionnaires1
Types of Self-Administered Questionnaires2
Supervised Administration3
One-to-One Supervision3
Group Administration4
Semisupervised Administration6
Unsupervised Administration7
Advantages of Self-Administered Questionnaires9
Sample Related10
Geographic Coverage10
Larger Samples11
Wider Coverage Within a Sample Population11
Sensitive Topics13
Disadvantages of Self-Administered Questionnaires14
Sample Related14
Availability of Lists14
Response Rates14
Literacy and Language15
Questionnaire Construction16
Order Effects18
No Control Over Who Responds19
Quick Turnaround20
Self-Administered Questionnaires by Example: Assault and Vision Studies21
2.Content of the Questionnaire23
Information Included in Questionnaires and Deciding Whether a Mail Questionnaire Is Appropriate23
Amenable to Study26
Checklist: Deciding Whether to Use a Mail Questionnaire30
Developing the Content of the Questionnaire31
Adopting Standard Questionnaire Batteries32
Adapting Sets of Questions36
Designing Your Own Questions39
Guidelines for Deciding on the Content of the Questionnaire39
3."User-Friendly" Questionnaires and Response Categories41
Construction of Questions42
Short-and-Specific Format42
Cautionary Use of Vague Qualifiers46
Cautionary Use of Abstract Terms and Jargon47
Easy-to-Difficult Progression50
Logical Order55
Demographic Questions Placement55
Checklist for Constructing Questions58
Open- Versus Closed-Ended Questions59
Construction of Response Categories60
Easily Used Categories61
Mutually Exclusive Categories64
Multiple Answers65
Residual "Other"67
Checklist for Constructing Response Categories70
Clear and Sufficient Instructions70
Question Answering73
Checklist for Writing Instructions74
Projecting the Surveyor's Ideas Onto the Respondents75
Checklist for Minimizing Bias78
Pretesting, Pilot-Testing, and Revising Questionnaires79
Pilot Tests80
Value of Pretests and Pilot Tests88
Checklist for Conducting Pretests and Pilot Tests90
4.Format of the Questionnaire93
Vertical Format95
Print and Paper99
Splitting Questions Between Pages101
Checklist for Formatting Questionnaires102
Coordinating With Data Entry Personnel and Data Processors103
Ending the Questionnaire104
Camera-Ready Copy104
Checklist for Finalizing the Questionnaire105
Correspondence and the Motivation of Respondents105
Use of Letterhead107
Information About Sponsorship108
Purpose of the Study109
Reasons Why an Individual's Participation Is Important110
Incentives to Encourage Respondent Participation111
Monetary or Material Incentives112
Other Forms of Motivation113
Use of Advance Letters114
How Material Incentives Will Be Provided or Distributed114
Realistic Estimate of the Time Required to Complete the Questionnaire115
How and Why the Respondent Was Chosen117
Explanation of Confidentiality and How the Data Will Be Handled118
Provision of a Name and Phone Number to Call for Information119
When and How to Return the Questionnaire120
Checklist for Motivating Respondents and Writing Cover Letters121
Writing Questionnaire Specifications122
Objective of the Study123
Selection and Tracking of the Sample124
Timing of Administration126
Instructions for Administering Questions126
Questions Raised by Respondents128
Source and Reason for Questions130
Checklist for Writing Questionnaire Specifications132
Developing and Producing the Sample136
Sample Availability138
Selecting the Sample140
Addressing the Mailing141
Planning the Sample File142
Ethics and Responsibilities144
Sample Size145
Other Factors Affecting Response Rates148
Components of the Field or Mailing Packet149
Group Administration Packet Checklist149
Mailing Packet Checklist150
Follow-Up Procedures150
Type, Number, and Timing of Follow-Ups152
Content of the Follow-Up Reminder156
Follow-Up Procedure Guidelines159
Sample Tracking159
Sample Tracking Procedure Guidelines162
Processing Returns163
Sample Status Reports163
Data Reduction164
Estimating Costs165
Outgoing Postage166
Incoming Postage168
Optional Mailings169
Printed and Stock Materials169
Personnel Requirements172
Suggested Readings213
About the Authors223

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