Fuzzy Scale Table: An Effective Research Tool

Fuzzy Scale Table: An Effective Research Tool

Ramaraj Palanisamy (St. Francis Xavier University, Canada) and Bhasker Mukerji (St. Francis Xavier University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5202-6.ch091
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Surveys are the most commonly used data collection technique/ tool for business management research for getting a snapshot of the current state of affairs in a given group or population (Janes, 2001). Zikmund (2000) defines survey as ‘a research technique where information is obtained from a sample of people by use of a questionnaire.’ The questionnaire survey is a data collection method which involves quantification of response data, using a formally designed schedule of questions (listed with appropriate scales such as nominal, ordinal, and interval) for which the answers are provided by the respondent (Ticehurst & Veal, 2000; Kumar, 1996). The goals of the questionnaire survey are to collect data with maximum reliability, accuracy and validity; and these goals are applicable for all types of surveys including household surveys, postal/mail surveys, customer surveys, organizational surveys and online/ email surveys (Fricker & Schonlau, 2002). As the respondents are expected to read questions, understand, interpret and respond at any time and from anywhere, surveys provide quick, inexpensive, effective and efficient response (Zikmund, 1997).

As the individual characteristics such as emotion, involvement, attitude and motivation play a role in responding to a questionnaire item (Hitchen & Watkins, 2011), the respondents’ views may range from optimistic to pessimistic as each respondent’s knowledge base is different. Similarly, the response time may also vary. For instance, a respondent may recollect only a limited knowledge base and may give a qualitative judgment for a questionnaire item by taking lesser time. Whereas another respondent may spend more time in recollecting a larger part of his/her expertise for analyzing different aspects of the construct in order to arrive a response for a question. In some instances, the respondent is constrained to express his/her view and forced to choose an option when there are no choices available in the scale of a questionnaire-item. Though survey questions could bias participant judgments and answers (Andrews, Nonnecke, & Preece, 2003; Schwarz, 1999), time taken for understanding and interpreting a questionnaire item may also vary. A respondent with sharp memory may take less time for answering a question; and another respondent may take considerable amount of time for responding to each item in the questionnaire. At the same time, there is a chance that the respondent who answers quickly, simply might not pay more attention to the questionnaire item and just wants to finish the task by randomly responding to each item. This variability in response may end up in capturing inaccurate data as all the responses are treated equally without considering the efforts made by a respondent in responding to a question. Therefore, though interactive questionnaire generation framework is available for capturing the variability of users’ responses (La Rosa, Aalst, Dumas, & Hofstede, 2009), there is a lack of standard mechanism to capture the variability in expressing views and uncertainties in responding to a questionnaire item.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Scale Table: A matrix used for gauging the different dimensions of a construct.

Fuzzy Multiplication: Refers to the operations on two different fuzzy sets.

System Design: Process of specifying the various components such as data, input, process, and outputs of a system.

Fuzzy Logic: Fuzzy logic was developed for handling vague and uncertain information by allowing intermediate values between the Boolean values true and false.

Questionnaire Survey: The data is obtained when potential respondents are requested to respond to questions asked by human/ automated interviewers or to questions they read in a questionnaire.

Dimensions of a Construct: The types or classifications of a construct.

Construct: Refers to a variable in a research model.

Survey: A research technique or method where information is obtained from a sample of people using an instrument such as a questionnaire.

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