A Companion to Survey Research provides a critical overview and guide to survey methods. Rather than a set of formulas, survey design is understood as a craft where the translation of research questions into a questionnaire, sample design and data collection strategy is based on understanding how respondents answer questions and their willingness to complete a survey.

Following an account of the invention of survey research in the 1930s, a synthesis of research on question design is followed by a practical guide to designing a questionnaire. Chapters on sampling, which deal with the statistical basis of survey sampling and practical design issues, are followed by extensive discussions of survey pretesting and data collection. The book concludes with a discussion of the extent and implications of falling response rates.

This book is written for researchers, analysts and policy makers who want to understand the survey data they use, for researchers and students who want to conduct a survey, and for anyone who wants to understand contemporary survey research.

Survey Data Collection

Modes of survey data collection just refer to the different forms of communication used to contact and solicit respondents, ask questions and record the answers. The mode affects a respondent's willingness to answer a survey and his or her ability and motivation to understand and answer answers. Interviewer effects on survey response arise from subtle differences in the way that interviewers and record responses as well as respondents' perceptions of interviewers.

The chapter begins with a description of the four principal modes of data collection – personal and telephone interviews and ‘paper and pencil’ and Internet self-administered surveys – and then looks at the effect of survey mode on response rates and data quality and the impact of interviewers. The second part of ...

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