Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reading Response 9

Exploring Research


          In this section, Salkind talks about the advantages and disadvantages of using questionnaires. One main advantage is that it doesn't take as long as one-on-one interviewing does. One main disadvantage is that the completion rate is much lower on questionnaires than interviews. He also talks about what makes a good questionnaire, and I completely agree with the factors. I wouldn't want to complete a questionnaire if it was unreasonable, had a hidden agenda, didn't have straightforward questions, or the format wasn't professional. The reading included things that I had never really thought of before, for example, when it stated that a question should not include the word "and" because it makes it two questions and the reader won't know which question they are answering. Also that it is god to give detailed instructions about how to take the questionnaire. People usually assume that it is pretty straightforward, but it could be that they have a specific way they want the questions answered or how they want the questionnaire returned to them. I also never really thought of questionnaires about having a cover letter which it would make sense to have a cover letter to explain the context or content of the questionnaire.
          In one of my other classes, Cultural Geography, my professor is a professional interviewer and told the class about some of his tricks to get good and accurate information. For example, he is an older gentleman and had to collect data from residents of a retirement community in Florida. He explained that  he brought his wife with him on the interviews because people would be more likely to invite a couple into the house rather than just a man, he also researched the most popular car people drove in that community and rented it for the interview, he dressed professional, and he also gave us tips on how to ask for people's income. He said the best thing to do is to put the salary questions in the middle of the interview, because people have already given you all sorts of other information that it will just seem more natural. He suggested to never make that the first question you ask someone or else it will turn them off to the interview. Also, like Salkind, he found that it was better to have them answer income with multiple choice than an exact number.

Qualitative Methods:    

          I believe that sometimes qualitative is better than quantitative research. Growing up, my math teachers would always have us show our work to solve a problem, no mater if you got the correct answer, you would get points taken off if you didn't show your work. Sometimes its more important to understand how things work, rather than to get a concrete number. A lot of what a program is to us is qualitative research while learning and understanding how people will use the space.
          In order to gather more information, we do interview, create focus groups, etc. These , like what we used for the train station and for the mural project, help us to get more information on how the space would be used or how people feel about a certain thing in their community. In my geography class, we talked about how to give a successful interview. My professor told us that he drove the same car as most of the people did, dressed a certain way, and brought his wife so that people would feel more comfortable when letting him into their home.
          While case studies do provide a lot of useful information, it is only about one person's reality. If I was to take the information of this one person who may hate having windows in a building, then my building wouldn't have any windows if I believed that the one person's view help up true to everyone's.
          Something that I would really interest me to do is ethnography because I would love to learn more about different cultures and ethnic groups. I would also be very interested in historical research. Although details are sometimes very hard to find in historical research, I believe that it could help for everyone to design better if they knew what has already been done and how it worked. There is always something more crucial to good research than the information, and that is to make sure that the information is accurate and authentic. If your sources are faulty, then your information is faulty, then your design and work is faulty.


Salkind, N. J. (2003). Exploring Research (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

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