Business Essays - Questionaire Observation Research

Questionnaire Observation Research


A critical comparability is presented in this article and it pertains to widely used research methods - Questionnaire, Observation and Research Interviews. The section on Questionnaire commences with a broad over view to the research method talking about the techniques and major research concerns influencing the technique, before moving to the methodological durability and weakness of questionnaire.

The section on Observation and Research Interviews comes after next and they're explored in a similar routine as that of the questionnaire. Additional concerns for research are talked about in the explanation for every single method.

Following the method explanation, this essay focuses the assessment of the techniques predicated on the critical factors that has impact on these research methods. The results of the comparability are tabulated with an easier understanding. The final section of this essay is the conclusion which reviews on the suitability of three methods for a specific research type.


What is Questionnaire?

Questionnaire is one of the very most popular data collection method used for Descriptive or Explanatory survey research. Whilst the ex - research is used to recognize and identify variability in several processes, the last mentioned is a lot used for analyzing relationship between variables.

Standardised characteristics of the data collected facilitated by easier understanding of the study questions makes questionnaire a favorite and common technique for Business & Management research.

Research Concerns

The kernel factors that needs to be considered in the design and administering of questionnaires are:

  • Response rate
  • Validity of the info
  • Reliability of the info

Questionnaire explained

Questionnaires can be broadly labeled based on the technique of supervision into:

  • Self Administered
  • Online
  • Postal
  • Delivery/ Collection
  • Interviewer Administered
  • Telephone
  • Structured

Self implemented questionnaires guidelines out the decision of selection of respondents and the dependability of the info accumulated becomes low with possible contaminants of responses. In contrast the interviewer selects whom he wishes as respondents, reports the responses straight as responded to by the respondents and therefore dependability is high with a lesser level of contamination of responses.

A successful questionnaire is the key to answer the research questions and the design of questionnaire varieties the crucial element to the success of the questionnaire. The main element objective for making an effective questionnaire must be to ensure that respondent comprehends the complete questionnaire very much the same planned by the researcher. Often it is highly improbable to get back to the same respondent for obtaining additional replies hence the design must be precise in the beginning before proceeding with the info collection.

Dillman (1978) has categorised the different type of information sought in to the following four design variables:

  • Attitudes or what respondents feel.
  • Beliefs or what respondents think (true or false)
  • Behavior or what respondents do.
  • Attributes or characteristics of respondents.

Design of the average person questions decides the type of data accumulated and has a significant contribution to the success of the questionnaire. Individual questions are broadly categorised into Start and close questions. Open questions are being used to obtain wide variety of responses; they are especially useful when the outcome is unlikely to be forecasted. It consists of written responses making the process more time consuming with an increase of response rate and less easy for comparison.

In contrast finished questions provide respondents with specific answer selections to choose thereby avoiding filling in the blank areas and overall results in lower response rate and easier assessment. The wordings used in the questionnaire are really important.

The wording of your question will include clear instructions on how to complete the questionnaire, make it unambiguous, concise and should clearly reflect the objective of the research. Likewise the order and move of questions within the questionnaire should be prepared in a reasonable manner since it affects the response rate and the dependability of the data collected.

Pre-testing of questionnaire must get a give food to back on clarity of information, time for conclusion, design, biased questions, interpretation of the respondents etc. Volume of respondents on whom the questionnaire is tested and the amount of test conducted mainly is determined by the research targets, time available and financial implications.

Several strategies have been submit by analysts for screening the dependability and validity of the data collected. The ultimate process mixed up in questionnaire is the administration of the questionnaire to maximise the response rate and also to have a much better access to the info collected over a period of time. Administration requirement of a questionnaire depends on the type of questionnaire.

Methodological Power

  • Questionnaire gives method for data collection from a big population in an inexpensive way.
  • Questionnaires are a more affordable way to reach people regardless of their location.
  • Distribution of questionnaire is less frustrating thereby escalates the time designed for data research on immediate receipt of response.
  • Questionnaire avoids interviewer bias which can positively impact the validity and stability of the info collection.
  • Since the id of the respondents is not revealed, respondents can critic without fear.

Methodological Weakness

  • Design of the questions is an important factor for success of the questionnaire.
  • Open questions require respondents to own good reading and writing skills.
  • Response rates and dependability drops when the quality of questions is not guaranteed.
  • Respondents need to be motivated to fill in long questionnaire.
  • Questionnaire often doesn't give a website for clarification
  • Biased questions and private questions will never be responded properly.


What is Observation?

Observation is the most common data collection approach found in Ethnographic approach to research methods. Ethnography relates to anthropology which place emphasis on understanding this is that members' attach to their actions. This technique is unique from the other data collection techniques because it centers more on the behavioral or social areas of the members and has a higher "ecological validity (Gill & Johnson, 1997) over other methods.

Researchers have recommended that inductive approach in combo with other research methods is a valuable research tool for management research. Both types of observation complete in this article are Participant observation and Organised observation.

Observation explained

Participant observation is a qualitative analysis in which the researcher "stocks experience not only observing what is occurring but also sensing it (Gill & Johnson, 1997). On this subjective procedure the researcher tags along with the participant group, communicates with the customers of the group to comprehend the action of the group to answer the study objective and in the process derives a self applied identity.

The degree of participation i. e. research workers' role as a total participant or as an observer in the team, analysts personal information in the team (overt or covert), period of involvement (short / permanent) and the level of socializing is determined by the research questions that need to be replied. Working towards responding to these issues, Gill & Johnson (1997) has developed the following categorisation

  • Complete participation
  • Complete observer
  • Observer as participant
  • Participant as observer

The observation in the first two assignments is covert i. e. the identification of the researcher is not uncovered to the users and the goal of the research is hidden. The covert methodology argues that action of men and women is influenced by direct observation and attaining access to the info would be difficult with people understanding the purpose of the researcher and the study objective. The major problem with covert way is that it is inferred as "ethically defensible (Gill & Johnson, 1997) i. e. there exists an element of deception of the folks by the researcher.

The mother nature of observation within the last two roles is overt i. e. the identity of the researcher is revealed to the customers of the group and the purpose of the research is well known. In the ex -, researcher is a spectator and could work towards the research objective focusing on the relationship with the participant team. Whilst in the last mentioned, analysts' role is more of any participant and enjoys a field work relationship with the members (Ackroyd and Hughes, 1992). Because the identity of the researcher is discovered, he works towards increasing the trust of the group and hence there is a much better role clearness and working towards research goal.

Delbridge & Kirkpatrick (1994) have broadly categorized the data gathered through participant observation into major, extra and experiential. These data quite simply answers what took place or that which was said at the time of observation. Data collection for the participant observation is performed through informal discussions and questions and data examination can be carried out simultaneously.

Structured observation unlike participant observation practices a systematic strategy and has a predetermined composition in working towards the study objective. Set up observation lays a rigid focus on quantifying the tendencies of the individuals' and represents more about how exactly things happen rather than why they happen. Data collection for organized observation can be an from the shelf design, own design or a blend of both and choice depends on the research aim.

Methodological Strengths

  • Participant observation allows experts to have an improved knowledge of the observed patterns of individuals activity.
  • Since the ethnographic research is carried out in the natural environment of the things under exploration, observation has high ecological validity.
  • Observation techniques are specifically useful for research workers working of their organisations.
  • Since there is a direct participation of the researcher in the info collection, the contamination of data scheduled to subject's action can be reduced.

Methodological Weakness

  • Observation offers a subjective strategy and hence researcher needs to have a clear knowledge of the research target.
  • Qualitative data makes research more theoretical and more complex.
  • Observation is frustrating since it includes the researcher to get involved in the team completely.
  • Since the researcher is in the nearest closeness to the study situation, there tend to be more prospects for observer bias.
  • Getting access to the organisations/ communities can be difficult especially with overt research.
  • Researcher needs to have a better understanding of the culture of the folks under observation.
  • With personal information of the researcher hidden, covert research can cause ethical problems.

Research Interviews

What is Interview?

Interview is a data collection technique used thoroughly in qualitative research methods wherein the researcher communicates straight with the respondents to collect valid and reliable information relevant to research goal. "Interview is a purposeful dialogue between two or more people (Kahn & Cannell, 1967).

Interview requires less writings and facilitates collection of critical data with an immediate reviews from the respondent Research Interviews are either conducted on the one-one basis where the interviewer communicates with a single respondent or an organization basis where an interviewer communicates to an organization (focus group).

Research Interview explained

There are various interview methods designed for research; collection of a particular type depends upon the type of research (explanatory, descriptive, explanatory) and the study question that needs to be answered. Based on the amount of formality and the composition, interviews are categorised into

  • Semi organized Interviews
  • Unstructured (Comprehensive) Interviews (Kahn & Cannell, 1967)

In Semi organised interview, researcher prepares a set of questions, the number and order of questions can vary with flow of the conversation between your interviewer and the respondent. On the other hand unstructured interview is completed in casual situation in which the interviewee is amused to respond openly about information related to the research area. This technique is utilized for in depth analysis on a specific research question.

Yet another type is the Telephonic Interview which helps rapid assortment of information better value. Since there is no personal contact between your interviewer and the respondent, the problems reviewed under telephonic questionnaires is applicable here as well. Despite the acceleration and cost advantages telephonic interviews will tend to be used in particular circumstances only.

The interviewer regulates the grade of the result and hence it is important that the interviewer has the background of review; understands the goal of the research; communicates within an understandable way, avoids deviation from this issue and has good interpretation of information accumulated.

For the goal of improving results, it's important for the interviewer to rehearse the interview before you begin the genuine field work. The interviewer should identify the possible circumstances resulting in a situation of any biased interview; he should plainly understand the impact of bias on the research objective and focus on solutions to avoid it.

The outcome associated with an interview also depends upon the sort of questions where in fact the question should be able to gather information on attributes like actions, opinions, knowledge, thoughts. The exact composition of questions depends on the research aim. The series of questions should be designed in a way to have the respondent involved in the interview as fast as possible and to avoid digression from this issue under conversation.

The most significant phase in the interview process is the collection of required information from the respondent and the saving the gathered information (making notes, saving in tapes). The major concentrate should be towards motivating responses, providing move between matters and adhering to the study questions.

Methodological Strengths

  • There is a purposeful communication between Interviewer and the respondents which relationship assists with obtaining required information.
  • Complex research questions can be easily managed with Interviews.
  • The validity of the information is high since respondents are able to share information readily to the interviewer.
  • Questions which are complex in characteristics can be mentioned at size with the respondent. This helps in better knowledge of the problem.
  • Recording of information during interview is simpler (records and tape) and is performed simultaneously at the time of interview.

Methodological Weakness

  • Success of interviews is determined by the competence of interviewer and therefore selection of interviewer is essential.
  • Interviewer bias will influence the research aim.
  • Interviews are expensive as they require competent people to perform interviews.
  • Interviews are additional time consuming in character, especially with in-depth interviews.
  • The analysis of qualitative information accumulated through in-depth interviews is intricate.
  • Open questions can cause dilemma either because of the lack of knowledge of the question by the respondent or by the lack of knowledge of the response by the interviewer.

Critical Evaluation of Methodologies

An essay on the study methods would be imperfect without critical assessment of the methodologies mentioned. The table designed below identifies critical factors that influence the methodologies in mind and draws a crucial comparison between them.


The comparison predicated on the critical factors evidently implies that each methodology mentioned has a different approach offering distinctive benefits and drawbacks. The suitability of the strategy for a particular research depends on many factors including reason for the research. In many of the business enterprise and Management research, the researcher face a "dilemmatic (Mc Grath, 1982) situation having no ideal end result adapting an individual methodology and in every such situations Multimethod strategy is utilized to tap the benefits of all solutions to find a highly effective solution to the study objective.


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Boyd, W. B. and Westfall, R. (1970) Interviewer bias once again revisited, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 7, pp. 249-53.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2003) Business Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University or college Press.

Dingwall, R. (1980) Ethics and ethnography, Sociological Review, Vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 871-91

Elizabeth Nunez, A Guide to three research methods, First Model, Fall 2000

Fowler, F. J. and Mangione, T. W. (1990) Standardized Study, Interviewing: Minimizing Interviewer Related Problem, Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Gill, J. and Johnson, P. (2002) Research Methods for Managers, Third Edition, London: Paul Chapman.

Kirk, J. and Miller, M. (1986) Stability and Validity in Qualitative Research, Sage, London.

Nancy Whelchel. Review Research. Available: http://www2. acs. ncsu. edu/UPA/survey/uapr. survey_res. Last seen 3 November 2007.

Pervez Ghauri, Kjell Gronhaug, (2005), Research Methods running a business Studies A Practical Guide, Third Edition, Harlow: Prentice Hall. Robert L. Kahn, Charles F. Cannell, (1967), The Dynamics of Interviewing, Eleventh Edition, London: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Saunders, M, Lewis, P. , Thornhill, A. (2003). Research Options for Business Students, Third Model, Harlow: Prentice Hall. William C. Robinson. (2004). IS 540 Research Methods. Available: http://web. utk. edu/~wrobinso/540. html. Previous accessed 8 November 2007.

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