1. Question: formulate questions that
explore whether or not a relationship exists in a real-world context. The question
needs to be clearly stated and based on collectable data. Not all questions can be
"Data as they are" questions can be answered:
If the U.S. Presidential elections were held today, what percent of Americans would
vote for Al Gore as president?
"What-if questions under replicable circumstances" can be answered:
Among all American school children age 6 to 12, would giving Vitamin C prevent colds?
(You can imagine testing this out on more and more children.)
Data from nonreplicable events, in general, can NOT be answered!
"How many U.S. troops be in Bosnia if the American Revoluation had failed?"
How much household garbage is produced in our homes? In the average home in
Design a questionnaire to investigate this problem. Justify your questions. Explain how
you will carry out this survey. Could you collect data via computer networking? How can
you use a computer to record, organize, and display your data? How can you display your
data to have the most impact?
appropriate language - surveys need to be delivered in the appropriate
language and reports need to be written in the same language. One must also use
language that will not offend persons providing the data. Some suggestions:
USE: disabled people / people with disabilities / people
DO NOT USE: the disabled / the handicapped / invalid (means not valid)
USE: blind people / people who are blind / people with a visual impairment
DO NOT USE: the blind
USE: deaf people / people who are deaf / hearing impairment / hard of hearing
DO NOT USE: the deaf
USE: a person who is unable to speak, having a speech impairment / deaf without speech /
DO NOT USE: dumb / mute
USE: person with a speech impairment
DO NOT USE: speech problem / can't talk properly
USE: wheelchair user
DO NOT USE: wheelchair-bound / confined to a wheelchair
USE: a person who has epilepsy
DO NOT USE: an epileptic
USE: a person with spina bifida
DO NOT USE: spina bifida case
Some groups and individuals may express a preference.
Subjects have a right to privacy and confidentiality. They should be told
who has access to the data. Every effort should be made to prohibit unauthorized access to
the data; a good rule - minimize the number of individuals who know the identity of the
participants. In general, research data do not have privileged status. Confidentiality
should be maintained in publications/presentations (do not use the names of individuals,
locations, etc.). There are some situations when the participants may want to be
identified. Ways to enhance confidentiality: ask for anonymous information, use third
parties to select sample and collect data, use a detachable identifier, have subjects make
up a code when matched data is required, dispose of sensitive data after study is
cultural sensitivity - considerations include race
(white, black, Asian, Native American, Eskimo, Pacific Islander....), ethnicity
(Hispanic, Italian, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Central/South American, ...), language
(English, French, Chinese, Italilan, ...), and religion (Buddhism, Islam,
Judaism, Sikhism, Alternative Spirituality, Christianity, Canadian First Nations:
consistency - surveys may be administered in many countries. Care
must be taken to ensure the survey is the same in each case. Different versions of
the survey will make data analysis much more difficult.