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  • Image not available.Survey research is one of the most common forms of research.
  • Image not available.Survey research generally involves asking people about a topic, although some surveys may be based on existing data sources.
  • Image not available.A clear research question and specific objectives help guide the design of a survey and questionnaire.
  • Image not available.Survey topics may need to be investigated with focus groups in order to know the specific issues that are important to study.
  • Image not available.Survey methods are determined by the research question. They include interviews and self-administered questionnaires using the mail or telephone. They may be web-based, or given in person.
  • Image not available.The most appropriate types of questions and response scales should be selected, and questions should be free from bias.
  • Image not available.Questions that have a predetermined list of possible responses are easier to analyze than open-ended questions.
  • Image not available.The choice of scale (nominal, ordinal, numerical) has ramifications for ways in which the results can be analyzed.
  • Image not available.Answers need to be balanced with equal numbers of positive and negative response options.
  • Image not available.In general, responses should be specific and avoid vague adjectives.
  • Image not available.Response categories need to be homogeneous and mutually exclusive.
  • Image not available.Potentially objectionable questions can sometimes be softened so they are more acceptable to the subject.
  • Image not available.Questions permitting subjects to select as many options as they choose can present challenges at the time of analysis.
  • Image not available.People often find ranking scales difficult if more than three choices are to be ranked.
  • Image not available.Likert scales are popular and easy for respondents to understand.
  • Image not available.Reliability indicates whether the results from a test or questionnaire are reproducible.
  • Image not available.Validity indicates whether a test or questionnaire is measuring what it is intended to measure.
  • Image not available.Pilot testing is essential and need not use a large sample.
  • Image not available.A high response rate provides more confidence in the findings.
  • Image not available.Effective follow-up is the most important way to increase response rates.
  • Image not available.A well-crafted cover letter should accompany all questionnaires.
  • Image not available.Incentives, both monetary and nonmonetary, appear to have a large effect on response rates.
  • Image not available.Ethical considerations and institutional review boards require that respondents be assured that their responses will be kept confidential.
  • Image not available.Appropriate sampling methods lead to more valid studies so long as the type of respondent is pertinent to the research question.
  • Image not available.Determining the required number of subjects is part of the survey design process.
  • Image not available.Survey results are analyzed using the methods previously discussed in this book.


Presenting Problem 1


Fellowship and residency program directors may want to know which attributes of their program attract applicants. It can be difficult for applicants to choose among programs, and certain factors are more important to some applicants than others. Program directors want to highlight the features of their program that are attractive to the kinds of applicants they would like to have. Caiola and Litaker (2000) wanted to learn more about the factors that appeal to internal medicine residents when choosing a fellowship in general internal medicine (GIM). A group of faculty at their institution developed a 36-item questionnaire to learn how the interview ...

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