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Improving Survey Questions: Design and Evaluation (Applied Social Research Methods) [Paperback]

by Floyd J. Fowler
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 21, 1995 0803945833 978-0803945838 1

What is a good question? Although there are several potential sources for error in survey data, the validity of surveys is dependent upon the design of the question asked. This invaluable book shows how to word and format questions that will evoke the kind of answers for which they are designed and how to evaluate empirically survey questions. In addition, the book covers how to write good questions aimed at collecting information about objective facts and events, measuring subjective phenomena, some alternative methods for attacking common measurement problems, how to evaluate the extent to which questions are consistently understood and administered, and how to evaluate the data resulting from a set of questions.


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Improving Survey Questions: Design and Evaluation (Applied Social Research Methods) + Scale Development: Theory and Applications (Applied Social Research Methods) + Survey Methodology
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Floyd J. Fowler, Jr. is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received a PhD from the University of Michigan in 1966. A Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 1971, he was Director of the Center for 14 years. Dr. Fowler is the author or co-author of four textbooks on survey methods, including Survey Research Methods, Improving Survey Questions, Standardized Survey Interviewing (with Mangione), and Survey Methodology (with Groves, Couper, Lepkowski, et. al), as well as numerous research papers and monographs. His recent work has focused on studies of question design and evaluation techniques and applying survey methods to studies of medical care.


Product Details

  • Series: Applied Social Research Methods (Book 38)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc; 1 edition (July 21, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803945833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803945838
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(6)
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic book with timeless advice July 1, 2005
By N. Shah
Format:Paperback
After reaading many books on questionnaires, I find this one provides the most generally useful advice in a readable, compact format. Much cheaper and more advanced than the Survey Kit (also published by Sage), Fowler's book should find a place on the bookshelf of anyone writing questionnaires or surveys.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, sharp, effective. Dr Fowler covers it all. January 15, 2006
Format:Paperback
The author has been a senior research fellow since 1971, and in that time has no-doubt seen it all when it comes to marketing and social research projects. In fact the volume was written after an evaluation of many significant social surveys where (he wasn't setting out to prove this) Fowler found the standard of questionnaire writing quite inadequate.

In "Improving Survey Questions" he goes methodically through the philosophy, the problems and the techniques of writing better, more reliable questions that are easily understood (by a diverse audience) and are easily responded to - thanks to clear, unambiguous instructions.

If he has one main lesson it is this: pre-test your surveys. His ultimate wish is that more pre-testing take place in the world of professional research.

A worthwhile book - not exactly entertaining in style - but would make a great basis for in-house training in your organisation. I refer to my copy frequently, and used it to strip down my questionnaire style and build it up again from scratch. A good if somewhat salutary exercise for the professional.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid and useful text August 2, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fowler begins with this observation: "Poor question design is pervasive, and improving question design is one of the easiest, most cost-effective steps that can be taken to improve the quality of survey data." I agree. This brief (190 pp.), clearly-written text provides a number of practical and sensible guidelines for the design and evaluation of survey questions. There are other texts about survey questions, but none with the same depth and focus. While not written in as friendly a style as some cookbook introductions to survey research, Fowler's book should nevertheless be accessible to any reader who has taken at least an introductory course in research methods. Recommended.
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