I finished reading the monograph which I mentioned the other day, "Survey questionnaires: handcrafting the standardized questionnaire". After all, it is only 88 pages long. Whilst there is some interesting material within, it wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be. There are two major problems with the monograph which render it of little use
- It assumes that the questions are being asked of the general public and not of a specific population. That said, it's interesting to note that many of my respondents who use Priority, an ERP program, didn't know what ERP was.
- It assumes that the questionnaire will be used in a face to face or phone interview. It was written in 1986 before personal computers became truly widespread. Thus there is concern that the respondent may not have heard the question fully and may have substituted homonyms (the example given is hearing "prophet" instead of "profit"). Such problems are simply not going to occur with a computerised questionnaire.
I also received feedback from my mentor regarding ethics and why there was no material in the IBR courses about constructing questionnaires. Here is part of his answer: it is simply not practical at the IBR stage which has to give generic background to research. It does not and cannot cover all the methods and techniques that DBAs could draw on; if it did you would have to learn an immense amount of material that you would never use. After that, it would all have to be customised to your needs. It is much more efficient for you to choose a la carte rather than having to consume the whole menu. Your own questionnaire will be a survey type questionnaire and few of our DBAs do this. Much more efficient for you to develop this under the guidance of an experienced supervisor.
I find the comment "few of our DBAs do this" (ie create questionnaires) intriguing. It implies that most of the theses are what are termed "longitudinal studies", where the research data is obtained from a small population over a long period of time - by structured interviews.