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Creating a New Survey for a Specific Population: The Kids’ Church Survey

By: Robert G. Crosby III & Erin I. Smith Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Psychology
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In the field of psychology, researchers often study variables that cannot be measured directly, such as depression and self-esteem. One common method for measuring these psychological variables is to use surveys. However, not all surveys are of equal quality. Good surveys share some common qualities, especially related to their development. This case study discusses the decisions we made to develop a trustworthy survey for measuring supportive relationships among a specific population—children at church. The development of the Kids’ Church Survey was an extension of our own personal stories as researchers and individuals. As we tell this story, we describe the decisions we made when defining our key terms and selecting a theoretical framework. We then explain how we created a pool of potential survey items and how we used focus groups and cognitive interviews to select and develop the best items. We highlight several important considerations when creating and adapting existing measures to a new population, paying special attention to the issue of cultural sensitivity and the challenges faced when developing surveys for young children.

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