KEY FEATURES: Introduces students to developing research questions and shows their importance in driving research design. Rarely taught topics, such as how to enter and clean data, offer students information missed in both research methods and statistics courses. Shows how to write up survey results for academic, business and nonprofit reports to alleviate the confusion students feel about how to write up findings. Rigorous treatment of sampling focuses on many sampling issues from probability theory to weighting. Offers the process of actually conducting a survey with advice on administering surveys, incentives, and improving response rates.

How Do We Choose the Right Survey Design?

Erin Ruel

We choose the research design based on the research question we intend to answer. There are three broad categories of research questions used: (1) descriptive, (2) explanatory, and (3) evaluative.

Descriptive questions are ones that ask how much of X is out there. For example, we might ask, What is the prevalence of diabetes in the United States in 2018? This question is asking for a snapshot of 2018; therefore, a cross-sectional design would work well. If, however, we asked How has the prevalence of diabetes in the United States changed between 1990 and 2018?, we are asking for a whole bunch of snapshots. In this case, a trend study would be the best design.

Explanatory questions ...

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