Field Work & Qualitative Research Methods & Questionnaire

Session Report
Riya Rajvanshi

LPPYF Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship is an Online National Summer School Program, a Two-Month Online Immersive Legal Awareness & Action Research Certificate Training Course and Internship Program, from June-August 2023 by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute. An informative and interactive panel discussion on “Field Work & Qualitative Research Methods & Questionnaire” was held by Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, VISVA-BHARATI (A Central University and an Institution of National Importance).

Key Aspects of Doing Research 

He started by going over the components of doing a research study. It involves a wide range of factors:

  1. Problem Statement: Start by clearly defining your research question or objective. 
  2. Objective: Choose appropriate research methods based on your question and objectives. Common methods include surveys, experiments, interviews, observations, or case studies. Justify the objective. 
  3. Hypothesis: Begin by formulating a clear and focused research question or hypothesis. This should represent the core of your study and guide all the research efforts.
  4. Methods: Collect data using your selected methods. Ensure the data is relevant to your research question and is collected systematically and ethically. Maintain detailed records of the data collection process.
  5. Analysis: Depending on the nature of your data, use statistical software, qualitative analysis techniques, or a combination of both to analyze your data. Interpret the results objectively.
  6. Results: Present your findings clearly and concisely through tables, graphs, and written summaries. Be transparent about any limitations or uncertainties in the results.
  7. Discussion: Interpret the results in the context of your research question and existing literature. Discuss any unexpected findings and their implications. Address how the research contributes to the field.

He mentioned that these aspects collectively ensure that your research is well-planned, rigorous, ethical, and contributes meaningfully to the field of study.

Methodological Approach

He elaborated on the methodology approach and focused on the following points :

•Survey technique is the study of selecting a sample of people from a population in order to draw conclusions about that population based on statistics.

• A survey can refer to a wide range of observational methods or methods of observation, although in the context of survey sampling, a questionnaire is most frequently used.

• Surveys are carried out in a variety of research areas, such as marketing, psychology, political economy, sociology, and economics.

• Surveys elicit information about preferences and attitudes (such as the type of car you drive) and behavior (such as how frequently you vote).

The practice of choosing a sample of components from a target population is known as survey sampling.

Choosing the Survey Mode

He explained regarding the choice of Survey mode which is  determined by numerous factors including:research objectives, budget, survey type, target population etc.

• Telephone

• Mail

• Online

• Group or focus interviews

• Mixed mode

• As a general rule, the more private the data collection method, the more sensitive or personal the information.

Survey Mode Effects: It is important to consider the survey’s objectives and content when determining if social desirability bias will be a problem. Social desirability bias is likely to be stronger for telephone and in-person interviews and lower for mail and online modes.

How to design a questionnaire?

One of the most important steps in the survey research process is questionnaire design.

Several crucial steps must be taken while designing a questionnaire in order to produce a structured survey tool that efficiently gathers the data you require. A step-by-step tutorial for creating a questionnaire is provided below:

1. Clearly state the goals and objectives of your survey in your research objectives. What precise data are you looking to collect?

2. Identify Your Target Audience: – Choose the demographic you wish to poll. Think about their tastes, traits, and demographics.

3. Select the surveying technique: Choose how you will distribute the questionnaire, such as in person, over the phone, online, or via paper forms. The design of the survey may be impacted by the methodology.

4. Question Choice:

   – Decide what inquiries are necessary to achieve your research goals.

   – Various kinds of inquiries consist of:

     – Strictly limited questions: Offer predetermined response choices (like multiple-choice or Likert scale).

     – Free-form inquiries Give responders the option to reply in free-text.

5. Logical Flow: Arrange questions in a sensible order. Before moving on to more particular or sensitive inquiries, start with general and non-sensitive ones.

   – For coherence, group questions that are related together.

• Order bias: A bias brought on by a questionnaire’s prior questions or a response’s placement among a group of responses.

• The funnel technique: To get unbiased answers, ask general questions before particular ones.

• Filter questions: These are inquiries that weed out respondents who are unqualified to respond to a subsequent inquiry.

• A pivot question is a filter question used to choose which variations of a second question will be asked.

6. Pilot Testing:

    – Before finalizing the questionnaire, conduct a pilot test with a small group of individuals from your target audience. This helps identify and address any issues with question wording, order, or response options.

• Usually a small number of respondents are selected for the pre-test.

• The purpose of pretesting the questionnaire is to determine:

• whether the questions as they are worded will achieve the desired results

• whether the questions have been placed in the best order

• whether the questions are understood by all classes of respondent

• whether additional or specifying questions are needed or whether some questions should be eliminated

• whether the instructions to interviewers are adequate

Later, he concluded  that questionnaire design requires careful consideration to collect valid and reliable data. Finally  , the session ended by Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay on Development Research and Questionnaire Design: A Primer.

Riya is a Research Intern at IMPRI.

Youtube Video of Inaugural session for Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship Programme:

Read more session reports for Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship:

Ethics in Research: Field Work and Action Research

Local Governance and Public Policy



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