Friday, March 14, 2014

Research questionnaire / 2

Several months ago, I wrote about my initial thoughts on the research questionnaire which will be the main instrument through which my doctoral research will be conducted. In the intervening period, I've changed some of my ideas regarding this questionnaire: in the same way that I don't want to include 40 questions about cognitive style, I also don't want to include 10-15 questions which try to elucidate how well the respondent knows Excel.

I spent my 'doctoral hours' on Wednesday going over the questions which I had already established. Six or seven of the twenty five were concerned with the company's attitude to ERP; as I have already decided that I need one questionnaire for the company and one questionnaire for users, these questions were removed. I then added a few questions about training with ERP and ownership, along with some questions about spreadsheet usage and training. 

I translated the questions and answers in Hebrew then entered them into a questionnaire form in Priority. This questionnaire module is meant for performing customer approval feedback, but I could adapt the mechanism. Afterwards, I saw that this module is not that suitable for my needs: it doesn't allow the possibility of skipping questions based on certain answers: if the respondent answers that she doesn't use spreadsheets, then there's no need to ask many questions about spreadsheets!

I asked permission from my company's CEO and CFO to distribute the questionnaire amongst the company's users in order to get feedback. I stressed that I was distributing the questionnaire primarily to get feedback as to whether the questions could be understood and whether there were sufficient answers. I also stated that I was not too interested in the actual answers and that in any case the answers would not be used in the final research in order to prevent any form of bias. I asked the respondents to print the questionnaires then fill them in; I would physically collect them later (ie no need to scan them then send the scans to me by email). Approval was swiftly forthcoming.

Next morning I received five questionnaires: two from the site where I work and three from other branches. The first conclusion which I made was that people weren't reading the instructions: I specifically asked not to send me via email! I wrote a second letter to everyone thanking those who had already responded but asking the others not to scan their answers. There was misunderstanding regarding the conditional questions: one or two said that they didn't create reports intended for other people then answered questions referring to those reports.

Yesterday evening I updated my own programs with the questionnaire: as with programs which I have written for the occupational psychologist, there are three programs in the suite. One program manages the questionnaire itself, one is the exam and one is the program which manages the results. The latter is probably the simplest and hasn't yet been written. When entering the completed questionnaires into the exam program (as I were sitting the exam), I discovered several problems with the program and with the questionnaire itself (there was one conditional question which I hadn't noticed). I fixed each problem as it arose then checked to make sure that the exam behaved as it should.

Obviously it's too early to make any real conclusions about the questionnaire, but there are a few points which are already clear
  • the question about previous ERP experience is unclear
  • people who work close to me have received more than enough training in Priority whereas people in distant branches say that they haven't received enough
  • no one yet has learnt Excel in a formal manner: everyone has learnt from a friend
I'm hoping that I will get 40 filled questionnaires; so far only one of the five that I have received made any comments, so it might well be that this trial will not help me as much as I had hoped in improving the questionnaire.

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