Explain why developing a survey instrument is a challenging process and
What strategies and principles can be used to support the development of effective survey instruments?
Challenges in Developing a Survey Instrument
The process of development of survey instrument involves the designing data collection instrument. This process involves the challenge of ensuring the validity of the instrument. In this validity is essentially the extent to which the data collection tool can effectively measure what it is intended to enumerate. Therefore, it is very challenging to ensure that the instrument as well as the resulting data obtained from the instrument is valid and can accurately enumerate what is essentially intended to (Fowler Jr 2013).
In essence there are certain challenges encountered during development of questions of the survey. The data collection instrument also need to contain sound questions and make certain that those questions are appropriate for the targeted survey respondents. In essence, it is very challenging to ensure that the survey questions appropriately relate to the analysis questions and the analysis questions also need to be clearly tied to the objective as well as actions of the project. It is also challenging to write simple proper survey questions by using acquainted words, uncomplicated structures of sentence as well as few words as far as possible. In addition to this, it is also perplexing to keep note of the fact that only one concept is presented at a time and avert double negatives (Case and Given 2016). Furthermore, it is also important to ensure that response options seem right with the items. For instance, in case if the question asks regarding the level of satisfaction of the respondents, then the options in the response need to have words such as “satisfied” and not “good or excellent”. The step of development of question during survey instrument design also involves the challenge of making certain the fact that the categories of response are both exhaustive as well as mutually exclusive. This means that the response categories or else the outcomes that are presented as answers to the questions need to be exhaustive that means that at least one of the conclusions must follow and both the propositions together cannot follow. Another challenge involved in the process is ensuring proper use of the rating scale, confining the total number of categories to specifically four to five, including an equal number of positive as well as negative classes and maintaining the order of the categories same from one question to another. Furthermore, it is also important to provide each point on the specific scale a label than a number. Essentially, it is important to ensure that the respondents can understand what each class implies and can help in making it less complicated to report the outcomes (Rea and Parker 2014).
The steps involved in the process of validation of the survey instruments also involves several challenges. It is an intricate process to clearly recognize the particular object of recording and enumerating. There is complication involved in the process of operationalizing different abstract notions such as sustainability or else engagement in particularly concrete terms. Again, describing diverse pertinent components of the instrument is also important (Rossi et al. 2013). Complication is also involved in the process of determining domain of particular content and for this it is important to appraise the literature, refer to different stakeholders and in case if conceivable collect introductory qualitative data by means of focus groups, discussions, or else surveys. In addition to this, difficulties are also faced in the course of development of different measures for instance, survey questions for each component. The process of validation of the instruments also involves the complexity and challenge of reviewing as well carrying out pilot testing of the survey within the constraint of available budget as well as time (Oxtoby 2013).
Challenges in Question Development
In addition to this, there are common issues or else challenges that need to be alleviated for development of an appropriate survey instrument as these difficulties can disrupt the whole effort can hereby presented. There are essentially many surveys that start with numerous demographic questions such as name, title, address, email address, phone numbers that are sometimes unnecessary at the time of surveying. Therefore, it is important to maintain a proper contact list and find out tools of survey that permit demographic information to be populated. This way it can help in reducing the annoyance of different respondents and removing the challenge of falling rate of response (Magill et al. 2014).
Apart from this, challenges are also faced in presentation of response options. The survey instruments need to certainly include adequate response ranges that can essentially cover all the scenarios. Simultaneously, the survey instrument also need to make certain that the response options do not overlap with each other. For instance, difficulties are also involved in the process of providing options of data range (Noshay and McGrath 2013). Inadequate response alternatives also perplexes the respondents and they become unsure about what to select from the provided alternatives, thereby create confusion and lead to different flawed response data. Besides this, there is intricacy involved in maintenance of consistencies of different rating levels. At the time of development of survey instrument there is common mistake of assuming prior knowledge of the survey respondents that lead to difficulties. Therefore, it is important to ensure that knowledge of the respondents are not assumed and make certain that all the questions are properly assessed so that different building blocks can be instituted to reflect that survey respondents can knowledgeably respond to all the given questions, else this can lead to ambiguity and incorrect reliance on supposed prior knowledge. The utilization of acronyms or else industry jargons that might perhaps are not readily known to the survey participants can also pose a challenge and lead to confusion and inconsistencies in the data (Nardi 2015). Challenge is also involved in avoiding double barrelled or else compound questions, ambiguous or unintelligible questions as well as unnecessary questions. Difficulties and issues are also faced when there are excessive open ended questions in the survey. This is because maximum number of respondents might find it difficult to write out the responses to so many open ended questions. Besides, surveys that are too stretched, too complex as well as too perplexing can frustrate respondents and this in turn can lead to omitted questions or else drop offs. Therefore, it is challenging task to limit the total number of questions to the specific subject.
For designing survey instruments it is important to follow the basic strategy of understanding the process that involves designing the survey process, development of questions, testing and training, collecting the data and finally analysing the data. The selection of the type of the survey also affects the process of formulation of the survey instrument as this influences the selected respondents, presentation of the respondents, and process of recording of the responses. It is important to understand the survey process for the development of the survey instruments as the choices are essentially influenced by the goals of the research along with timeline, nature and characteristics of resources along with capabilities of potential respondents (Kreutz et al. 2015). The choices that will be made can also affect the overall quality, timeliness along with cost of the results. Therefore, the first principle in this process is to determine the objectives of the survey, target population, timing, and mode of the survey and use the acquired information for the development of the instrument. Thereafter, it is important to take into account different factors while development of the survey questions. These factors include reliability, validity, developing proper questions, designing appropriate format of the response, design of different self-administered questionnaires and checklist for effectual questionnaire. Thereafter, it is important to test and train. Subsequently, it is crucial to follow fitting procedures of collection of data, assess the rate of response, follow specific follow up processes and web survey challenges. In addition to this, it is also important to follow suitable process of analysis of data, coding and assessing data and deciphering the outcomes for drawing the conclusions (Fromkin 2014).
Challenges in Validation
The strategy for development of enhanced survey research instrument is therefore need to take into account the mode of collection of the data after proper analysis of research objective. Thereafter, the principle that need to be followed for development of enhanced survey instrument include assessment of the impact survey fatigue as there are several types of questions that can put burden on respondents and enhance the mental fatigue during the period of survey. Another principle that can be taken into account for betterment of survey instrument design is analysing diverse effects of wordings of the survey questions (Algoso et al. 2016). Essentially, writing questions with the correct wording can be considered to be most difficult part of generation of the survey and it is vital to provide clear instructions to the survey respondents. Yet another important principle for designing better survey instrument is establishment of the order of the questions. In addition to this, the investigators also need to assess diverse formats of the survey questions for ascertainment of the best suited one for the research study under consideration. In essence, it is crucial to understand what each category of question serves to diverse survey goals and limitations of the survey. In addition to this, it is also important to understand the accuracy of the answers that can be gathered from the survey. Irrespective of the intents, respondents cannot always deliver accurate information and face trouble in formulating their specific answers. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the level of accuracy of the answers provided by the respondents. However, the investigator might consider different aspects of visual survey design and help respondents understand the meaning of the visuals such as font, size, and specific colours for development of augmented instruments. Thereafter, the investigator might also consider analysis of the final survey assessment plan and check whether the format of the question used is essentially based on the objectives of the research, type of assessment and can reflect the survey outcomes, track specific events and most importantly can produce valid data (Burch et al. 2015).
The choice of development and design of specific research instrument need to be carried out in combination with operationalization as well as formulation of the strategy for collection of data. Different research instruments can be utilized for a particular category of analysis (Rozendaal et al. 2016). The choice of specific methodology or else the research instrument is the segment where the investigator selects the tool for collection of data for instance the survey, process of experiment in a bid to achieve the objective of the research. There are various types of research instruments that can be used for achievement of the same objective of research. However, with the particular topic, dissertation, category of analysis, review of the literature, conceptualization and objective comprehended, the investigator can form a general idea regarding collection of data that is best suited for the study (Lewellen et al. 2013). Essentially, investigator also need to determine whether objectives of the research can be properly fulfilled by using a single instrument. However, the investigator can follow a scientific protocol for consistent for acquiring data from the survey respondents. Nevertheless, for most of the social as well as behavioural surveys, the specific instruments need to involve particular questionnaire that delivers a script for presenting standard set of questions as well as options of response (Ramesh et al. 2016).
In particular, the designing of the survey instrument can consider the implementation of the four principles that involve strategy creation, alignment, deployment and accountability. The investigator might take into consideration different methods that is used for gathering, synthesizing and assessing vital information and plans and actions as per the research study (Walker et al. 2016). Thereafter, the investigator might consider the alignment that refers to the degree to which the survey instrument is aligned to the objectives of the study, strategic plans along with actions. In addition to this, the investigator might also take into account the principle of deployment that refers to deployment, managing and refining different plans alongside actions as well as projects. Apart from this, the investigator might also consider the accountability that refers to utilization of different metrics in addition to different vital procedure indicator along with action plans and derive outcomes.
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