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Survey tip 8: Use answer categories which are exhaustive and disjointed (free from overlap)!Answer categories are disjointed if each person can assign one of them with absolute certainty (provided of course that multiple answers are not allowed). In the case of the question...
"How many lectures on the subject of "healthy living" have you attended so far in the year 2000?" with the answer categories "none" "one lecture" "two to five lectures" "five or more lectures?"
those who have attended exactly five lectures will have difficulty answering the question as they could choose both the third and the fourth answer categories.
The following answer categories are disjointed: "none" - "one lecture" - "two to four lectures" - "five or more lectures"?
Answer categories are not exhaustive if the answer which a specific person would like to give is not covered by the answer categories. Example:
"How many hours do you spend developing questionnaires in a normal working week?" none at all less than three hours three to less than five hours between five and ten hours?"
Anyone who is fortunate enough to spend more than 10 hours developing questionnaires in a normal working week would not be able to give a correct answer. Thats why the scale should be changed:
none at all less than three hours three to less than five hours five to less than 10 hours 10 or more hours.
Anyone thinking this appears somewhat wooden is absolutely correct. In this case you could forego the answer categories and ask an open-ended question. This also applies to the previous question about the "healthy living" lectures.
|10 survey tips|
Formulation of questions
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• Survey tip 8
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Last updated: 19.09.2019