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Introduction To

Survey Methods

Prof. Dr. John T. Arokiasamy

Department of Community Medicine
International Medical University
(Source: Dr Tan Kok Leong)
What Is Research?

 A planned systematic search for information

 for the purpose of increasing knowledge
 which will be the basis for action (short & long
 that increases understanding of human health and

 It involves looking for information that is not

The Steps

 Identify problem to be studied

 Set objectives
 Decide on population and sampling
 Identify variables
 Develop study instrument/questionnaire and
 Collect data
 Data processing, analysis and interpretation
 Report

 A representative
sample of people.
Gathering Information Using Surveys

 Quick
 Inexpensive
 Efficient
 Accurate (if the sample truly represents the
 Flexible
Major Problems

 Poor Design

 Improper Execution
Tree Diagram of Total Survey Error
Total Survey Error

Random Sampling Error Systematic Error (Bias)

Administrative Error Respondent Error

Data Processing Error Non-Response Error Response Bias

Sample Selection Error

Interviewer Error Deliberate Unconscious

Falsification Misrepresentative

Interviewer Cheating
Survey Errors

 Random Sampling Error

 A statistical fluctuation that occurs because of
change variation in the elements selected from
the sample.
 Systematic Error
 Results from some imperfect aspect of the
research design or from a mistake in the
execution of the research.
Survey Errors (cont1)

 Respondent Error
 A classification of sample bias resulting from some
respondent action or inaction.
 Non–Response Error
 People who refuse to cooperate.
 Not at home.
 Response Bias
 A bias that occurs when respondents tend to answer
questions that consciously or unconsciously misrepresents
the truth (i.e providing socially desirable responses).
Survey Errors (cont2)

 Administrative Error
 Improper administration of the research task.
 Due to:
 Confusion
 Neglect
 Omission
Survey Errors (cont3)

 Administrative Error
 Data Processing Error
 Incorrect data entry, computer programming or other
procedural errors during analysis stage.
 Sample Selection Error
 Improper sample design or sampling procedure execution.
 Interviewer Error
 Field mistakes.
 Interviewer Cheating
 Interviewer filling in fake answers or falsifying interviewers.
Communicating With Respondents

 Personal Interviews
 Telephone Interviews
 Self-Administered Questionnaires
Self-Administered Questionnaires

Paper Questionnaires Electronic Questionnaires

In-Person Internet
Mail Fax E-Mail Kiosk
Drop-Off Web Site
Questionnaire Design

1. What is a Questionnaire
2. Questionnaire Development Process
3. Question Type
4. Question Wording
5. Questionnaire Flow and Layout
What is a Questionnaire?

 A set of questions designed to generate the

data necessary for achieving the objectives of
a research project.
Accuracy of data collected depends on whether
it is able to provide a two-way communication


Researcher Respondent
Questionnaire Development Process

 Understand the objectives of the research.

 Create the Questions:
 Decide on the questions.
 Determine the question type.
 Determine the answer format.
 Decide on the question wording.
 Determine the Question flow and layout.
 Evaluate the Question.
 Pretest and revise.
 Prepare the final copy.
Question Type
Open-Ended Question

 Responses/ answers:
 No limit/ many types.
 Unstructured.
 Example:
 What are the common health
problems that you experience
during cold weather?
Closed-Ended Question

 Responses/ answers:
 Acceptable alternatives provided.
 Structured.
Closed-Ended Questions
(Dichotomous Questions)
 Example:
 Do you suffer from flu during cold weather?

1 Yes

2 No
Closed-Ended Questions
(Multiple Choice Questions)
 Example:
 How often do you get flu in six months?

Three or more times
Closed-Ended Questions
(Ranking Questions)
 Example:
 Please rank your favourite food by putting 1 next to your
most favourite and 5 for your least favourite.

Fried Rice
Curry Chicken
Curry Beef
Boiled Chicken
Fried Noodles
Closed-Ended Questions
(Scaled-Response Questions)
 Likert Scale
 Example:
 All adolescence should be literate on safe sex.

strongly agree undecided disagree strongly

agree disagree
Closed-Ended Questions
(Scaled-Response Questions)
 Example:
 Please indicate the degree of pain?

No Pain 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very Painful

Question Wording
Question Wording

 Choose words so that questions are:

 Clear.
 Understandable.
 Precise.
Vague Responses AVOID

 Example:
 How frequently do you do physical exercise?

Never Never
Rarely Once a month
Sometimes Once a week
Often 2-6 times a week
Very often Everyday

Vague Clear
Hypothetical Questions AVOID

 Example:
 How would you rate the effectiveness of Aspirin in treating

Not Effective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Effective

Complex Questions AVOID

 Example:
 What are the various symptoms that you experience during
cold weather?
Leading Questions AVOID

 Example:
 Do you agree that smoking is bad for health?


Assumption Questions AVOID

 Example:
 What medicine do you normally consume during cold
weather to avoid flu?
Ambiguous Questions AVOID

 Example:
 Use the following scale to rate your ability.

1 2 3 4 5
Double Barreled Questions AVOID

 Example
 Do you always see your doctor and follow his/ her

Evaluating the Questionnaire

 (A) Flow and Lay out

 Arrange the questions in order.
 Provide clear and understandable instructions.
 Space out the questions.
 Provide space for answering open-ended
Evaluating the Questionnaire (cont)

 (B) Appropriateness
 Is each question necessary?
 Is each question as specific as possible?
 Can each question be understood by all respondents?
 Are the questions applicable to all respondents?
 Will the questions provide the information to accomplish the
research questions?
 Are there too many questions?
 Is the questionnaire easy to follow with clear instructions?
 Is the questionnaire easy to answer?
 Is the questionnaire free of typo error?
Breastfeeding Practices and Protective
Effect of Children Against Infections
 A. Socioeconomic Profiles

 1. Registration Number: _ _ _ _ _ _

 2. Age: _____________

 3. Ethnic Group: ___________

 4. Birth order: ______

 5. Household income? ____________

Breastfeeding Practices and Protective Effect
of Children Against Infections
 6. Mother’s and Father’s education level?
 Primary
 Secondary
 7. Number of Family Members
 <3 persons
 3 – 5 persons
 5 – 10 persons
 10 > persons
 8. Source of water supply for household use
 Pipe water
 Others
Breastfeeding Practices and Protective Effect
of Children Against Infections
 9. Type of feeding practices
 Breastfeeding only
 Mainly Breastfeeding
 Breastfeeding + Formula Milk
 Non-Breastfeeding Go To Q 12

 10. Duration of ever breastfed: _________

 11. Frequency of diarrhoea episodes?
 Yes
 None
The Research Process

 Planning
 Collecting data
 Processing data
 Analysing and Interpreting data
 Writing a report
Thank You

Have fun designing your questionnaire

and conducting the household survey.