Saturday, May 19, 2007

survey and observation

Chapter 6

The two basic means of obtaining primary quantitative data and descriptive research our survey and observation. Survey involves a direct questioning of respondents, where is observation entails recording responded behavior.

Surveys involve the administration of a questionnaire and may be classified, based on the method or mood of administration, as:
  • traditional telephone interviews
  • CATI
  • in-home personal interviews
  • Mall intercept interviews
  • CAPI
  • Mail surveys
  • Mail panels
  • e-mail surveys
  • Internet surveys
Of these methods, traditional phone interviews and CATI are the most popular. However, each method has some general advantages and disadvantages.

The various methods may be compared in terms of:
  • flexibility of data collection
  • diversity of questions
  • use of physical stimuli
  • sample control
  • control of the data collection environment
  • control of field force
  • quantity of data
  • social desirability
  • obtaining sensitive information
  • potential for interviewer bias
  • response rate
  • perceived anonymity
  • speed
  • cost
Although these data collection methods are usually thought of as distinct and competitive, they should not be considered mutually exclusive. It is possible to employ them productively in combination.

Observational methods may be classified as structured or unstructured, disguised or on disguised, and natural or contrived.

The major methods are:
  • personal observation
  • mechanical observation
  • audit
  • content analysis
  • trace analysis
As compared to surveys, the relative advantages of observational methods are:
  • they permit measurement of actual behavior
  • there is no reporting bias
  • there is less potential for interviewer bias
The relative disadvantages of observation are:
  • very little can be inferred about motives, beliefs, attitudes, and preferences
  • there is potential for observer bias
  • most methods are time-consuming and expensive
  • it is difficult to observe some forms of behavior
  • potential for being unethical
Observation is rarely used as the sole method of obtaining primary data, but it can be usefully employed in conjunction with survey methods.

In collecting data from different countries, it is desirable to use survey methods with equivalent levels of reliability, rather than in same method. Respondents anonymity should be protected and their names should not be turned over to the clients. People should not be observed without consent for research in situations were they would not expect to be observed life in public. Internet and computers are used extensively and survey research. They also facilitate observation methods, particularly content analysis, audits, and trace analysis.

survey method -- a structured question near given to respondents and designed to elicit specific information
structured data collection -- use of a formal questioning or that presents questions in a prearranged order
fixed alternative questions -- questions that require respondents to choose from a set of predetermined answers
CAPI -- computer assisted personal interviewing
Mail panel -- a large and nationally representative sample of households who have agreed to periodically participate in mail questionnaires and product tests
sample control -- the ability of the survey measured to reach the units specified in the sample effectively and efficiently
sampling frame -- a representation of the elements of the target population. It consists of a list or set of directions for identifying the target population
random digit dialing (RDD) -- a technique used to overcome the bias of on published in a recent telephone numbers by selecting all telephone number digits at random
random digit directory designs -- a research design for telephone surveys in which a sample of numbers is drawn from the telephone directory and modified to allow on published numbers a chance of being included in the sample
Field force -- the field force is made up of both the actual interviewers and the supervisors involved in data collection
response rate -- the percentage of the total attempted interviews that are completed
non-response bias -- the actual respondents differ from those to refuse to participate
critical request -- the target behavior that is being researched
perceived anonymity -- the respondents perception that their identities will not be discerned by the interviewer or the researcher
social desirability -- the tendency of the respondents to give answers that may not be accurate but that may be desirable from a social standpoint
observation -- the recording of behavioral patterns of people, objects, and events in a systematic manner to obtain information about the phenomenon of interest
structured observation -- observation techniques or the researcher clearly defines the behaviors to be observed and the methods by which they will be measured
unstructured observation -- observation that involves a researcher monitoring all aspects of the phenomenon without specifying the details in advance
natural observation -- observing behavior as it takes place in the environment
contrived observation -- the behavior is observed in an artificial environment
personal observation -- an observational research strategy in which human observers record the phenomenon being observed as it occurs
mechanical observation -- an observational research strategy in which mechanical devices, rather than human observers, record the phenomenon being observed
psychologicalvanometer -- an instrument that measures a respondents galvanic skin response
galvanic skin response (GSR) -- changes in the electrical resistance of the skin that relate to a respondents affected state
voice pitch analysis -- measurement of emotional reactions through changes in the respondents voice
response latency -- the amount of time it takes to respond
pantry audit -- a type of audit where the researcher inventories the brands, quantities, and package sizes of products in the consumer's home
content analysis -- the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of any communication
trace analysis -- an approach in which data collection is based on physical traces, or evidence, of past behavior