|dc.description.abstract||The paper discusses the general conception and the results of a methodological research performed among workers in a factory in a small town, capital of a district. It is a study of adequacy of questionnaire procedures with relation to a certain occupational and social environment. The term adequacy has a double meaning here psychological, as the problem under consideration is whether the applied procedure is fitting for the given group because of emotional and intellectual characteristics of its members; and sociological, related with the research situation considered as close or remote to social situations ever experienced by subjects of the study.
The survey was designed to cover 83 men, working on one shift in one department of a textile factory. They had at least 5 years of standing at work and finished at least 5 classes of an elementary school. However, only 59 persons appeared on the assigned day. The respondents were asked to fill in a questionnaire immediately after their working hours, in three groups of 20 to 30 men, each one under supervision of two-men research teams. The questionnaire consisted of 10 questions concerning mainly the respondents’ opinions about the management’s attitudes towards workers, their appreciation of the working discipline there in force, and their feelings about forms of address and phrases used by foremen in their direct contacts with workers and by workers when addressing their foremen. During the whole time of the research situation respondents were carefully observed. It allowed to divide the sample into 3 categories of attitudes towards the research situation. Thus 7 persons manifested obvious reluctance to participate. However, none of them went so far as to refuse to collaborate. The most numerous category consisted of persons who manifested neither interest nor obvious reluctance to the questionnaire situation. There were also 6 persons who were positively interested in the study and in its scientific or practical meaning.
In the analysis of data particular attention was paid to the problem of adequacy of answers and of lack of answers. Only 40 questionnaires (68%) were filled in completely, while only 47 (80%) were filled without faults. 35 forms (59%) were filled in both completely and without faults. In that number only 6 were filled by respondents who had not had full elementary education, while there were 18 such persons in the whole sample. These data constitute empirical evidence that elementary education is the threshold of performing even simple questionnaire research programs. Lacks of answers and faults in answering, hardly ever analysed in questionnaire surveys, may serve as indications of adequacy of employed procedures and may thus help to interpret, the collected data.
After some time since the questionnaire situation control open interviews were made with 28 members of the most numerous group of questionnaire respondents in order to secure repeated answers to two specially chosen questions of the questionnaire. What mattered was the degree of consistency of declarations uttered on the same topic in different situations. It was fond that at least 9 persons changed their minds about one, and at least 5 persons about two questions. As there were 28 respondents in general, this seems to be an evidence of a low degree of consistency of opinions expressed in the two situations. Besides, the data seem to indicate that the filling, of a questionnaire in the work environment did not, against the researchers’ expectations, make the expressed opinions more „official“ or „formal“. To the contrary, responses were more “official“ during the interview, in spite of using the whole range of means of the “art of interviewing“ in order to create an atmosphere of a sincere and intimate conversation.
Parallely, another series of interviews was made with members of the two smaller groups of questionnaire respondents. This series was methodological in character, designed to secure information about the general attitude of workers toward the research situation. 20 respondents were thus interviewed, somewhat younger and better educated in average than the others. Perhaps that was why 17 of them said the questionnaire had been easy for them, while the three who admitted some difficulties suffered only 5 years of schooling. The majority of respondents (14 as against 6) felt anonymous enough, and this seems to account in a certain degree for the fact that the questionnaire situation had not made, their opinions „official“. Respondents were rather unlikely to expect (13 as against 7) that the results of the questionnaire could ever be used, for practical purposes; it might increase the tendency to neglect the research situation. Remarks about sincerity of responses (10 to 10) and about eagerness to participate (9 as against 11) also indicate that workers had hardly been convinced that the questionnaire was a suitable tool to grasp their real opinions about how matters stood in the factory.
The whole material seems to prove that of the two employed research procedures the technique of individual interviewing was both psychologically and sociologically more, adequate, for the studied community.||