Open ended and Closed ended Questions Discussion

3305 Discussion post: What is the difference in an open-ended question and a closed-ended question? When would it be more appropriate to use a closed-ended question and when would it be best to use open-ended questions? Give me specific examples of both. word count 250

Homework 3305:In this assignment, you will create an Interview Schedule. From the research on Domestic Violence, you will come up with 25-30 questions that you would potentially ask if you were to go out and perform a face-to-face interview with an expert in the field. You want to start with some basic questions about the person you are interviewing, i.e. title, job description, etc. Then, move into the questions about what services are provided by the shelter/organization that the interviewee works for. Next, ask the more personal questions about domestic violence. Lastly, you will need a few “cool down” questions. Pay attention to the chapters in the book about creating questionnaires, good questions in a semi-structured interview, contingency questions, open-ended questions, etc. ***use the uploads ch 8 & 9 to do this assignment***

Questionnaires and
Structured Interviews
Chapter 9
◼ Questionnaires and structured interviews are
the two most widely used methods of data
collection in social science research.
◼ Questionnaire

A data collection instrument with questions
and statements that are designed to solicit
information from respondents
◼ Structured interview

A data collection method in which an
interviewer reads a standardized list of
questions to the respondent and records the
respondent’s answers
◼ Survey

A study in which the same data are collected
from all members of the sample

Usually in the form of answers to questions
Often use large probability samples and crosssectional study design
◼ Respondents

The participant in a survey who completes a
questionnaire or interview
◼ Self-report method
◼ Another name for questionnaires and interviews
because respondents are most often asked to
report their own characteristics, behaviors, and
The Uses of Questionnaires and
◼ Questions can be asked about a variety of topics
◼ It is common to use the self-report method to gather
information on attitudes, beliefs, values, goals, and
◼ Questions can also be used to gather a person’s
level of knowledge on something or behavior
The Uses of Questionnaires and
The Uses of Questionnaires and
◼ Although surveys are widely used there are
important concerns about their validity
◼ When using self-report methods it is based
on the implicit assumption that people have
the information being asked and they will
answer based on their core beliefs and
The Uses of Questionnaires and
◼ Measurement error

Error that occurs when the measurement we
obtain is not an accurate portrayal of what we
tried to measure
The giving of inaccurate answers to the
The Uses of Questionnaires and
◼ Answers may be influenced by

Understanding of the question
Knowledge of topic
Social desirability
Personal opinions
Accurate memories
Current mood, events
Gender, race
Participant Involvement
◼ Response rate

The percentage of the sample contacted that
actually participates in a study
Participant Involvement
◼ Response rate is affected by

The number of people who cannot be reached
for the study (noncontacts)
The number who choose not to participate
The number who are incapable of performing
the tasks required of them
Participant Involvement
◼ Nonresponse error
◼ Results from differences between nonresponders
and responders to a survey
Participant Involvement
◼ When participants and nonparticipants differ
in social characteristics, opinions, attitudes,
values, or behavior – then generalization to a
larger population is much more difficult
◼ Some researchers have questioned whether
higher rates of refusal automatically means
more bias
Participant Involvement
◼ Participation in studies can best be
understood within a social exchange context.

Social exchange – means a cost/benefit
Once potential sample members are
contacted, they must decide about
cooperation after thinking about the costs and
Participant Involvement
◼ Respondents are asked to give up their time,
engage in interactions controlled by the
interviewer, think about issues or topics that
might cause discomfort, and take the risk of
being asked to reveal embarrassing information.
◼ Potential participants might worry about privacy
and lack of control over the information
Participant Involvement
◼ Conversely, participants might want to
participate because of an interest in a topic, a
desire to share their views, or knowledge that
their information will be useful to science and
Participant involvement
◼ Possible ways to increase participant rates

Advance mailings
Focusing on the interesting aspects of participation
Re-contacting participants to encourage participation
Minimize the costs of participation
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Self-administered questionnaires
◼ A questionnaire that the respondent completes by
him or herself
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Interview
◼ A data collection method in which respondents
answer questions asked by an interviewer
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Group-administered questionnaires
◼ Questions administered to respondents in a group
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Group-administered questionnaires
◼ Advantages
◼ Allows the researcher to explain the
instructions and answer questions.
◼ Provides the researcher some control over the
setting in which the questionnaire is completed
◼ Allows the respondents to participate
◼ Usually results in a good response rate
◼ Inexpensive
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Group-administered questionnaires


There might be no group setting for the
population the researcher wants to study
A group setting might raise concerns over the
violation of voluntary participation
Groups typically have limits for the amount of
time they spend on a survey
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Mailed questionnaires
◼ Questionnaires mailed to the respondent’s
residence or workplace
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Mailed questionnaires
◼ Advantages
◼ Inexpensive
◼ Reasonably effective
◼ No time requirement, allows the participant to
not feel rushed
◼ Answering in private, creates fewer social
pressures and expectations
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ A questionnaire can be individually
administered or administered as an Internet
◼ Individually administered questionnaire

Questionnaires that are hand delivered to the
respondent and picked up after completion
◼ Web or Internet surveys
◼ A survey that is sent by email or posted on a
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Web or Internet surveys
◼ Advantages

Large samples
Not expensive
Can be interactive

Access to Internet
Coverage error (a sampling error that arises when
the sampling frame is different from the intended
Low response rates
Self-Administered Questionnaires
◼ Cover letter

The letter accompanying a questionnaire that
explains the research and invites participation
◼ The interview has some similarities to a
conversation, except that the interviewer
controls the topic, asks the questions, and
does not share experiences or opinions.
◼ Interview schedule

The list of questions and answer categories
read to a respondent in a structured or semistructured interview
◼ The use of structured interviews allows for
some flexibility in administration, clarification
of questions, and the use of follow-up
◼ Interviews typically have good response rates
◼ Interviews are more expensive than
questionnaires, because interviewers have to
be hired and trained.
◼ Using an interviewer adds the potential of
interviewer effect, or the changes in
respondents’ behaviors or answers that result
from some aspect of the interview situation
◼ In-person interviews
◼ An interview is conducted face to face
◼ In-person interviews are a good choice for:

questions involving complex reports of behavior,
groups difficult to reach by phone,
respondents who need to see material or to consult
records as part of the data collection,
when the interview is long,
when high response rates are essential
◼ Phone interviews (interviews conducted over
the telephone)

Preferred because it can yield close to the same
results as an in-person interview at half the cost
Good for people who feel too busy for face-to-face
New technology allows makes it cost effective to
do computer-assisted telephone interviews in
which data are collected, stored, and transmitted
during the interview
Cell phones have created new challenges to
phone interviews
Constructing Questions
◼ Researchers make a series of decisions
based on assumptions about how
respondents read or hear the questions that
are asked.
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions

Open-ended questions

Questions that allows respondents to answer in
their own words
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions

Closed-ended questions

Questions that include a list of predetermined
▪ Answer categories must be exhaustive and mutually
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of Questions
◼ Deciding whether to use open- or closedended questions involves several issues.

Answer choices can provide a context for the
question, they can make the completion and
coding of questionnaires and interviews easier.
Respondent might not find the response that best
fits what they want to say, and answer categories
can be interpreted differently by different
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions

Open-ended questions

All open-ended responses must be categorized
before the researcher does statistical analysis
A limited number of answer categories must first
be created for each question, so the data may be
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions


The process of assigning data to categories
▪ Coding is a time consuming and expensive task that
can result in the loss of data richness.
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions

Screening questions

Question that asks for information before asking
the question of interest
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions

A screening question is often followed with a
contingency question
A contingency question

A question that depends on the answer to the
previous question
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions
◼ Time diary or calendar

A self-report method that asks about amount of time
spent on particular activities in time blocks
Constructing Questions
◼ Types of questions
◼ Vignettes

Scenarios about people or situations that the
researcher creates to use as part of the data collection
Constructing Questions
◼ How to ask questions

Keep the questionnaire or interview as short
as possible
Only the necessary questions planned for data
analysis should be asked
Pilot test

A preliminary draft of a set of questions that is
tested before the actual data collection
Constructing Questions
◼ Guidelines for Question Wording
Avoid loaded words – words that trigger an
emotional response or strong association by
their use
Avoid ambiguous words – words that can be
interpreted in more than one way
Don’t use double negative questions –
questions that can ask people to disagree
with a negative question
Constructing Questions
◼ Guidelines for Question Wording
Don’t use leading questions – questions that
encourage the respondent to answer in a
certain way, typically by indicating which is
the “right” or “correct” answer
Avoid threatening questions, or questions
that make respondents afraid or
embarrassed to give an honest answer
Constructing Questions
◼ Guidelines for Question Wording
Don’t use double-barreled or compound
questions – questions that ask two or more
questions in one
Ask question in the language of your
respondents, using the idioms and language
appropriate to the sample’s level of
education, vocabulary of the region, etc.
Constructing Questions
Constructing Questions
◼ Response category guidelines

Number of categories
Number of possible answers
“no opinion”, “don’t know”, “neutral”
Constructing Questions
◼ Question order & context

Responses to questions can be affected by
the question order as earlier questions provide
a context for later ones

Consider a logical order that makes participation
To encourage participation start with interesting,
no threatening questions, and save questions
about sensitive topics for the middle or end
Conclude with “cool down” to minimize discomfort
of participant

◼ Considerations when choosing a data
collection method
Quiz – Question 1
“In the past several months, how many times
have you spoken to someone about your
What is the major problem with the wording of
this question?
Double negative question
Loaded question
Ambiguous question
Leading question
Quiz – Question 2
The response rate is calculated by
Dividing the number of participants who
complete the study by the number of those
Dividing the number of participants who start
the study by the number of participants who
finish the study
Subtracting the number of participants who
were contacted from the number of
participants who completed the study
Quiz – Question 3
A researcher administers a survey to a group of
school children. The day that the research
administers the survey, the 3rd and 4th grade
students are on a field trip. This research might
be suffering from
A low response rate
Nonresponse error
Sampling bias
Interviewer error
Experimental Research
Chapter 8
Causal Hypotheses and
Experimental Designs
◼ Explanatory research

Research that seeks to explain the cause of a
phenomenon, and typically asks “what causes
what?” or “why is it this way?”
Causal Hypotheses and
Experimental Designs
◼ Causal hypothesis

A testable expectation about an independent
variable’s affect on a dependent variable
Causal Hypotheses and
Experimental Designs

Causal hypotheses and experimental
Empirical association
Temporal precedence or time order
Non-causal relationship
Causal Hypotheses and
Experimental Designs
◼ Experimental design

A study design in which the independent
variable is controlled, manipulated, or
introduced in some way by the researcher
Causal Hypotheses and
Experimental Designs
◼ The experiment: Data collection technique or
study design?

In experimental design the independent
variable is introduced, manipulated, or

What does this mean?
▪ The independent variable does not occur naturally,
but it is the result of an action taken by the
▪ Unique feature of the classic experimental design
▪ The researcher controls the placement of sample
members into two or more categories of the
independent variable
Causal Hypotheses and
Experimental Designs
◼ The experiment: Data collection technique or
study design?

If practical and ethical, a study can be
designed so that the dependent variable is
measured first and then, the independent
variable is introduced or manipulated and,
finally, the dependent variable is measured

Can see whether the introduction of the
independent variable comes before change in
the dependent variable.
Experimental Designs
◼ Stimulus

The experimental condition of the independent
variable that is controlled or “introduced” by
the researcher in an experiment
◼ Placebo

A simulated treatment of the control group that
is designed to appear authentic
Experimental Designs
◼ Stimulus

The experimental condition of the independent
variable that is controlled or “introduced” by
the researcher in an experiment
◼ Placebo

A simulated treatment of the control group that
is designed to appear authentic
Experimental Designs
◼ Internal validity

Agreement between a study’s conclusions
about causal connections and what is actually
Experimental Designs
◼ Experimental design
pretest-posttest control group experiment

An experimental design with two or more
randomly selected groups (an experimental
and control group) in which the researcher
controls or “introduces” the independent
variable and measures the dependent variable
at least two times (pretest and posttest
Experimental Designs
◼ Pretest

The measurement of the dependent variable
that occurs before the introduction of the
stimulus of independent variable
Experimental Designs
◼ Posttest

The measurement of the dependent variable
that occurs after the introduction of the
stimulus or the independent variable
Experimental Designs
◼ Probability sampling

A sample that gives every member of the
population a known (nonzero) chance of
Experimental Designs
◼ Random Assignment
◼ A technique for assigning members of the
sample to experimental and control groups by
chance to maximize the likelihood that the
groups are similar at the beginning of the

This can be done by flipping a coin to determine
which subject is assigned to which group
Assign each subject a number and using either
a random number table or electronic random
number generator to select members of each
Experimental Designs
◼ Matching

Assigning members of the sample to groups
by matching members of the sample on one
or more characteristics and separating the
pairs into two groups with one group
randomly selected to become the
experimental group
Experimental Designs
1. The study uses at least one experimental and
one control group, selected using a strategy to
make the groups as similar as possible
2. The dependent variable is measured at least two
time for the experimental and control groups.
The first measurement is before and the second
is after the independent variable is introduced
Experimental Designs
3. The independent variable is introduced,
manipulated, or controlled by the researcher
between the two measurements of the dependent
4. The differences in the dependent variable between
the pretest and posttest are calculated for the
experimental group(s) and for the control group.
The differences in the dependent variable for the
experimental and control groups are compared.
Experimental Designs
◼ Independent variable

A variable that is seen as affecting or
influencing another variable
◼ Dependent variable

A variable that is seen as being affected or
influenced by another variable
Experimental Designs
◼ Advantages of Pretest—Posttest Experiments
The experiment is useful for separating the
effects of the independent variable from
those of maturation (the biological and
psychological process that causes people to
change over time).
The experiment can control for some aspects
of the testing effect (the sensitizing effect on
subjects of the pretest).
The experiment can control for some aspects
of history (the effects of general historical
events on study participants).
Experimental Designs
◼ Posttest-Only Control Group Experiments

An experimental design with no pretest
Experimental Designs
◼ Extended Experimental Design

Solomon four-group design

A controlled experiment with an additional
experimental and control group, each receiving a
posttest only.
Experimental Designs
◼ Quasi-Experimental Design

An experimental design that is missing one or
more aspects of a true experiment, most
frequently random assignment into
experimental and control groups
Experimental Designs
◼ Field Experiment

An experiment done in the “real world” of
classrooms, offices, factories, homes,
playgrounds, and the like
◼ Generalizability

The ability to apply the results of a study to
groups or situations beyond those actually
Experimental Designs
◼ Laboratory Research

Research done in settings that allow the
researcher control over the conditions
Experimental Designs
◼ Experimenter Expectations

When expected behaviors or outcomes are
communicated to subjects by the researchers
◼ Double-Blink Experiment

An experiment in which neither the subjects
nor the research staff knows the membership
of the experimental or control groups
Experimental Designs
◼ Natural Experiment

A study using real-world phenomena that
attempts to approximate an experimental
design even though the independent variable
is not controlled, manipulated, or introduced
by the researcher
Comparing Experiments to Other
◼ Many research questions cannot be studied
using experimental design

Large samples are required
Not practical, ethical, and possible to
manipulate the independent variable
In these scenarios researchers may consider
panel, trend, cross-sectional, or case study
Quiz – Question 1
_____ refers to the biological and psychological
processes that cause people to change over
Quiz – Question 2
Which of the following is NOT an advantage of
pretest—posttest experiments?
Identification of maturation effects
Control for testing effects
Control for history
Identification of selection bias
Quiz – Question 3
Caldeira’s FOCAL RESEARCH used which kind
of experiment?
Posttest only

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