Zastosowanie ankiety pocztowej w powtórnym kontakcie badawczym
Słomczyński, Kazimierz M.
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The aim of the study here reported was to analyze the utility of a mail questionnaire and its auxiliary procedures as tools of supplementary contact with respondents. Such contacts may be sources of additional data, as well as of information on the respondents’ attitudes towards the initial research situation. The basic research, performed by the Chair of General Sociology of the University in Łódź, dealt with social stratification of the inhabitants of Łódź, as well as with its psychological aspects. The interview questionnaire contained over 50 questions; one part of them was designed to characterize objective situations of respondents and. of their families, another part asked about the feeling of social differentiation, about the personal „vision“ of class structure, about the perception of basic lines of social division, etc. As interviewers were active 42 advanced students of sociology after detailed instruction. The study covered 1000 heads of families, constituting a representative sample of their group Respondents with no less than high school education were summoned for the second time. After almost four months since the initial research contact a mail questionnaire was sent to a new sample of 232 persons. 84 persons (36,2% of the sample) sent their questionnaires back filled in. Extra measures had been taken at certain time spans to increase that number: mail urge that resulted in 55 new responses (23,7%), and then individual visits that furnished questionnaire data from another group of 64 persons (27,6%). Out of the 29 remaining members of the sample 12 (i.e. 5,2%) refused to collaborate, while 17 (7,3%) could not be reached at all. The paper presents an analysis of some factors influencing the number of returned questionnaires in a mail survey. It has been found that such factors as education, occupation or income were not significant in that respect. The important factor was rather the level of familiarity of respondents with problems dealt with in the questionnaire Three degrees of such familiarity were distinguished and consequently it was found that questionnaires had been returned by mail by 69,4% of respondents with a high degree, by 64,2% of those with a medium degree and only by 30,0% of those with a low degree of problem familiarity. The final part of the paper is devoted to an analysis of application of a mail questionnaire for studying respondents’ opinions about interviewers. Content analysis of responses to the question about positive features of the interviewer who contacted the respondent revealed that most respondents (59,7%) remarked suck features as may be included under the heading of good manners and breeding. The group next in number (33,5%) pointed to intellectual qualities of their interviewers and their general level of learning; positive features of character were mentioned by 32,1% of respondents and the skill in conversation by 31,1%. A lesser number of respondents (14,8%) mentioned pleasant appearance of interviewers and their knowledge of problems dealt with in the questionnaire (11,4%). Some points of interest arised as a result of an analysis of the distribution of answers to the discussed question with relation to the respondents’ age and education, as well as to sex of interviewers. Respondents in the age group of 19 to 40 years much more often than elder ones pointed out the interviewer intellectual qualities and his or her general level of learning (38,0% as against 29,1%), as well as skill in conversation (37,0% as against 25,3%). Elder respondents, on the other hand, were more apt to emphasize the interviewer’s pleasant appearance (17,5% as against 12,0%) and his or her positive features of character (34% as against 30%). Respondents with college education were more apt to note the interviewer’s knowledge of problems dealt with in the questionnaire than those with only high school education (17,6% as against 7,8%). Women interviewers were more often appreciated in terms of their manners and breeding (65% as against 50,7%), as well as in terms of their skill in conversation (35,7% as against 23,4%) than their male colleagues; on the other hand, men were more often than women appreciated in terms of their knowledge of topics mentioned in the questionnaire (15,6% as against 8,7%), their positive features of character (36,4% as against 29,4%) and their intellectual qualities (35,0% as against 32,5%). Only 7 persons (3,4% of the sample) expressed critical opinions about the interviewers they had met during the survey. The distribution of responses to the question about positive features of an ideal interviewer is rather similar to the distribution of answers.to the question here discussed. In the end it is emphasized that a repeated research contact is advantageous in a double manner, as it allows an appreciation of the validity of data already collected, and as it positively influences the interviewers’ reliability and exactitude in their work.