Surveys as Tools to Measure Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Surveys as Tools to Measure Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Ellen Boeren (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7456-1.ch037

Abstract

This chapter critically explores the tendency of research methods books to discuss survey research under the header of quantitative research approaches. It starts by providing a brief history on survey research, sets out core definitions, and situates survey research in the current methodological literature. The chapter then explores the nature of specific survey questions and the differences in format based on whether one is gathering qualitative versus quantitative data. Finally, the chapter explores the impact of survey methodologies and provides insight into the format of questions to be used during telephone, face-to-face, and self-completing surveys.
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Introduction

This chapter explores the extent to which social sciences surveys can be used to measure quantitative as well as qualitative data. This chapter begins by focussing on the history and definitions of surveys and on the predominantly quantitative nature of the survey literature. References are made to differences between deductive and inductive reasoning and underpinning philosophical assumptions in order to situate survey research in dominant methodological discourses. Secondly, a discussion is introduced on how to write survey questions and on the quantitative versus qualitative nature of the specific questions being asked. Special attention is given to when it is appropriate to introduce questions measuring qualitative information. Thirdly, this chapter focuses on the different survey methods such as self-completion, telephone or face-to-face, and the implications these methods have on the format of the questions that can be asked. This chapter ends with a set of overarching conclusions.

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