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Design, Evaluation, and Analysis of Questionnaires for Survey Research, 2nd Edition by Irmtraud N. Gallhofer, Willem E. Saris

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4

SPECIFIC SURVEY RESEARCH FEATURES OF REQUESTS FOR AN ANSWER

Chapter 3 examined the various linguistic structures of requests for answers. In this chapter, we will discuss features of requests for an answer that are important with respect to their consequences for survey research. Hence, we will first look at the characteristics of requests that cannot be changed by the researcher because they are connected with the research topic. Then, we will discuss some features that the researcher has influence over, such as the choice of the prerequest and the use of batteries of requests for an answer with the same format. So far, we have discussed only single requests, but if batteries are used, the form of the requests changes significantly.

Other issues that social scientists are concerned with include whether the request is balanced in the sense that equal attention is given to positive and negative responses in the request and whether absolute or relative judgments are asked, as well as whether a condition should be specified within the request. Finally, the request for an answer can include “opinions of others,” or “stimuli to answer,” or emphasize that a “personal opinion” is asked. In the following sections, these characteristics will be discussed in detail.

4.1 SELECT REQUESTS FROM DATABASES

So far, we have suggested the following method to develop a request. First, it is crucial to determine what needs to be studied, for example, “the satisfaction with the work of the present ...

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