PQsx - Tutor2u

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Nov 30, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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A postal questionnaire is just

a questionnaire which is

sent to respondents,

completed by them


and returned….


through the post.

This means that the researcher

is not present as the questionnaire is being

answered by the respondent.

The postal questionnaire

has the same advantages and disadvantages

of questionnaires…….

Can you remember


them?

….plus a few more which arise because of

the way it is delivered



through the post.

a
nd it’s not just that letters can get
lost…….

So,


Why use a postal questionnaire?


Postal questionnaires are a good method to

use if researchers need to contact a group

(a population) which is spread

across a large area

…or people who may want to

remain anonymous in order

to give information about

a sensitive subject

Because of these advantages,

postal questionnaires are used a lot in

medical research….

British Medical Journal

BMJ
2002; 324 : 1183
doi
: 10.1136/bmj.324.7347.1183 (Published
18 May 2002)

Paper

Increasing response rates to postal questionnaires:
systematic review


Phil
Edwards
, senior research fellow
phil.edwards@lshtm.ac.uk
)
a
,
Ian Roberts
, professor of epidemiology and public
health
a
,
Mike
Clarke
, associate director (research)
c
,
Carolyn
DiGuiseppi
,
associate professor of preventive medicine and
biometrics
d
,
Sarah
Pratap
, research
fellow
b
,

Reinhard

Wentz
, information
specialist
b
,
Irene Kwan
, research
fellow
b



Researchers write papers like this…..

J
Epidemiol

Community Health
2000;54:940

941

What are the characteristics
of
general practitioners
who
routinely do not return postal

questionnaires: a cross
sectional

study


Nigel Stocks, David
Gunnell

…or like this




Author:


GRAHAM Candida R.; BANERJEE
Sube
; GILL
Randeep

S.;



Title:


Using postal
questionnaires to identify
carer depression prior to
initial patient contact.



Reference:


Psychiatric Bulletin, 33(5), May
2009, pp.169
-
171.



or like this…….

…and all sorts of organisations


businesses,
government departments, councils, public
services like schools, the police,

the fire brigade


all of these may

find postal questionnaires a useful

way of gathering data.

What’s so good about postal
questionnaires?

Postal Questionnaires:



are relatively cheap and quick



avoid interviewer bias



can be good to use when investigating


sensitive issues


respondents don’t feel


embarrassed




…and




respondents can reply anonymously



PQs provide
results which can be easily


quantified and tabulated



PQs are
high in reliability


…on the other hand the perfect research

method has not yet been invented

Disadvantages



PQs usually have poor response
rates



t
he results can be biased


due to
selective response
-
those who
respond are untypical



as no researcher is present to
explain the questions or prompt, no
clarification is possible



and one final disadvantage….



PQs


as we saw above have many of the

s
ame problems as questionnaires

-
as a positivist method, they lack


validity

But researchers sometimes try to fix

these problems


especially the problem

of low
-
response rates

Researchers concerned about low response rate can take

Several steps to boost response



Keep the questionnaire brief



Make the design attractive and easy to follow



Provide a pre
-
paid envelope for easy reply



Send out reminders



Include a polite letter at the start



Stress the anonymity of the responses



Pay respondents or offer a cash prize (lottery)



But these solutions do not always work.


Payment is a particularly tricky issue:


Research in the BMJ in 2002 has claimed that
payment can

lead to doubling of response rate


Roberts et al in the Journal of Epidemiology
and Community Health, 2000, also found
payment helps


However ethics committees


in
medical settings and
universities
are often disapproving of offering
financial
incentives
to respondents


It is seen
as
pressurising
respondents


Researchers have to be pragmatic



PQs have their uses



Like many methods they can perhaps



be best used as part of a multi
-
method


strategy = triangulation