Teachers' Comments on Questionnaires—How Quantitative Research Can Learn from Qualitative Research
Teachers quite often are reluctant to engage in filling out questionnaires for research purposes, often citing working load as the reason. However, in an ongoing research project about teachers' health ("LeguPan—Teachers' Health: Prevention at the School") we are confronted with a large number of questionnaires providing us with comments, annotations and iconografic signs. The research presented here argues that this behavior is a communicative act asking for response from the researchers. With this in mind, all questionnaires were screened for comments, annotations, and iconographic signs. The evaluation of those communicative acts was based on qualitative content analysis. All comments and iconographic signs were assigned to categories: denying item-fit and instrument-fit; limiting the validity of the given answer possibilities; defending and justifying an answer; comprehension questions; non-specific statements on individual mental states. By looking at these communicative acts and by categorizing them we arrived at a number of conclusions about teachers as a target group for research. Further conclusions are drawn with respect to the planning, execution, and evaluation of questionnaire-based projects. The conclusions center on clearer linguistic processing and instructions for questionnaires and strategies for dealing with sensitive topics. Qualitative research can help towards quantitative research methods: Qualitative methods, such as group discussions and interviews, could complement or replace quantitative instruments.
Copyright (c) 2013 Sabine Weiß, Simone Schramm, Andreas Hillert, Ewald Kiel
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