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The NIHR Research Design Service for Yorkshire & the Humber

Surveys and Questionnaires

Authors
Nigel Mathers Nick Fox Amanda Hunn

This Resource Pack is one of a series produced by The NIHR RDS for the East Midlands / The NIHR RDS for Yorkshire and the Humber. This series has been funded by The NIHR RDS EM / YH. This Resource Pack may be freely photocopied and distributed for the benefit of researchers. However it is the copyright of The NIHR RDS EM / YH and the authors and as such, no part of the content may be altered without the prior permission in writing, of the Copyright owner. Reference as: Mathers N, Fox N. and Hunn A. Surveys and Questionnaires. The NIHR RDS for the East Midlands / Yorkshire & the Humber, 2007. Nigel Mathers Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care Community Sciences Centre Northern General Hospital Herries Road Sheffield S5 7AU School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) University of Sheffield Regent Court, 30 Regent Street Sheffield S1 4DA Left COREC at the end of December 2006

Nick Fox

Amanda Hunn Last updated: 2009

The NIHR RDS for the East Midlands Division of Primary Care, 14th Floor, Tower building University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD Tel: 0115 823 0500 The NIHR RDS for Yorkshire & the Humber ScHARR The University of Sheffield Regent Court 30 Regent Street Sheffield S1 4DA Tel: 0114 222 0828

www.rds-eastmidlands.nihr.ac.uk Leicester: enquiries-LNR@rds-eastmidlands.org.uk

Nottingham: enquiries-NDL@rds-eastmidlands.org.uk

www.rds-yh.nihr.ac.uk Sheffield: Leeds: York: rds-yh@sheffield.ac.uk rds-yh@leeds.ac.uk rds-yh@york.ac.uk

© Copyright of The NIHR RDS EM / YH (2009)
The NIHR RDS for the East Midlands / Yorkshire & the Humber 2009 SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES 2

Table of Contents
Page
1. Introduction …………………………………………………………. 2. What is a survey? ………..………………………………………… 3. Methods of collecting survey data ……………………………… 4. Sampling for surveys ……………………………………………… 5. Questionnaire design ……………………………………………… 6. Using questionnaires in postal surveys ……………………….. 7. Data analysis ………………………………………………………... Summary ……………………………………………………………….. Answers to exercises ………………………………………………… Further reading and resources ……………………………………... Glossary ………………………………………………………………… Appendix 1 The Fog Index …………………………………………… 4 5 8 11 20 33 36 38 39 42 44 51

NIHR RDS for the East Midlands / Yorkshire & Humber 2009 SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES

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1. Introduction
The survey is probably the most commonly used research design in health services research and the social sciences. We have all been asked to take part in a survey at some time. As consumers we are asked about our shopping habits, as users of services we are asked for our opinions of services. The survey is a flexible research approach used to investigate a wide range of topics. Surveys often employ the questionnaire as a tool for data collection. This resource pack considers the use of surveys and questionnaires in health and social care research.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES Having successfully completed the work in this chapter, you will be able to: 1. Understand why you might want to use a survey. 2. Describe how to select a sample for a survey. 3. Understand why you might want to use a questionnaire. 4. Understand how the method used for data collection influences the design of the questionnaire. 5. Distinguish between a structured questionnaire, semi-structured questionnaire and a topic guide. 6. Design your own questionnaire and coding frame. 7. Distinguish between open-ended and closed questions. 8. List possible ways of increasing your response rate.

The NIHR RDS for the East Midlands / Yorkshire & the Humber 2009 SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES

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2. What is a survey?
Surveys are a very traditional way of conducting research. They are particularly useful for nonexperimental descriptive designs that seek to describe reality. So, for instance, a survey approach may be used to establish the...
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