1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Questionnaire developing is the process of developing the format and questions in the survey instrument that will be used to collect data about a particular phenomenon. In developing a questionnaire, all the various stages of survey developing and implementation should be considered. These include the following nine elements, determination of goals, objectives, and research questions; definition of key concepts; generation of hypotheses and proposed relationships; choice of survey mode (mail, telephone, face-to-face, Internet); question construction; sampling; questionnaire administration and data collection; data summarization and analysis; conclusions and communication of results. Most people have responded to so many questionnaires in their lives that they have little concern when it becomes necessary to construct one of their own. Unfortunately the results are often unsatisfactory. One reason for this outcome may be that many of the questionnaires in current use have deficiencies which are consciously or unconsciously incorporated into new questionnaires by inexperienced developers. Another likely cause is inadequate consideration of aspects of the questionnaire process separate from the instrument itself, such as how the responses will be analyzed to answer the related research questions or how to account for non-returns from a mailed questionnaire. These problems are sufficiently prevalent that numerous books and journal articles have been written addressing them (Dillman, 2013). Also, various educational and proprietary organizations regularly offer workshops in questionnaire development. Therefore, this research is intended to identify some of the more prevalent problems in questionnaire development and to suggest ways of avoiding them. This research does not cover the development of inventories developed to measure psychological constructs, which would require a deeper discussion of psychometric theory than is feasible here. Questionnaires are useful and easy to administer to collect data from participants in studies [Colosi, 2011]. It is absolutely important for a researcher to be aware of the importance of a well-developed questionnaire and whether it measures what it is intended to measure. Therefore, the use of a valid and reliable tool to measure the properties of psych-social-behavioural concepts is an essential part of well-developed studies. Consideration should be given accordingly on whether the questionnaire will measure quantitative or qualitative data, and what would be its mode of administration. With respect to questionnaire developing, we present a definition of measurement, the guiding basic principles of measurement, and broad overview to the readers on questionnaires. Moreover, we discuss several important issues in the enhancement of the reliability and validity of measurement. The use of questionnaires as a method of data collection both nationally and internationally has increased in recent years. Questionnaires are used to enable the collection of information in a standardized manner which, when gathered from a representative sample of a defined population, allows the inference of results to the wider population. Questionnaire developing is very crucial and important part of the research, because an inappropriate questionnaire misleads the research, academics and policymaking. Therefore, a set of adequate and appropriate questions in a sequential order is required in a questionnaire. This is important when we want to evaluate the effectiveness of a system. Central to the understanding of results derived from questionnaires are the issues of reliability and validity which underpin questionnaire development from item generation to subsequent result analysis. This paper provides an analysis of key methodological issues in item generation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Surveys are used throughout education survey. In addition, survey instruments are widely employed in educational research. Similarly, surveys are commonly used in undergraduate, graduate education research project. Despite the widespread use of surveys in education, the research literature provides limited guidance on the best way to developing a survey (Gehlbach et al. 2010). Consequently, many surveys fail to use rigorous methodologies or ‘‘best practices’’ in survey developing. As a result, the reliability of the scores that emerge from surveys is often inadequate, as is the validity of the scores’ intended interpretation and use. Stated another way, when surveys are poorly developed, they may fail to capture the essence of what the survey developer is attempting to measure due to different types of measurement error. For example, poor question wording, confusing question layout and inadequate response options can all affect the reliability and validity of the data from surveys, making it extremely difficult to draw useful conclusions (Sullivan 2011). With these problems as a backdrop, our purpose in this research is to describe strategies for developing relevant questionnaire items for survey instruments used in undergraduate research project. In doing so, we hope to provide educators with a practical guide for improving the quality of the surveys they developing for evaluation and research purposes.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the strategy for developing relevant questionnaire items in undergraduate research project. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the relevant questionnaire items in an undergraduate research project.
2. To examine how effective questionnaire items enhances effective response from the correspondents.
3. To examine the different strategies involve in developing relevant questionnaire items.
4. To examine the principles that constitutes the different strategy in developing relevant questionnaire items.
5. To examine the structure of questionnaire that is relevant when constructing a questionnaire.
6. To examine the challenges undergraduates do face in developing relevant questionnaire items in research project.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the relevant questionnaire items in an undergraduate research project?
2. How does effective questionnaire item enhances effective response from the correspondents?
3. What are the different strategies involve in developing relevant questionnaire items?
4. What are the principles that constitute the different strategy in developing relevant questionnaire items?
5. What are the structures of questionnaire that is relevant when constructing a questionnaire?
6. What are the challenges undergraduates do face in developing relevant questionnaire items in research project?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Practically the study will assist the students especially undergraduates to know the relevant questionnaire items when writing a research project. It will also help the tutors of the tertiary institutions to adopt new strategies in developing questionnaire items. It will also assist in the education of the general public and undergraduates on the need to develop relevant questionnaire items during research writing. The study will be of great importance in providing information to readers, especially those involved in carrying out research. It will increase the data base for scholars and practitioners interested in the field of research survey and questionnaire development. Finally, it will serve as a reference point to scholars, and students who want to conduct research in future in the field.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the strategy for developing relevant questionnaire items in undergraduate research project, case study of Ebonyi state University, Ebonyi state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Questionnaire: A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions (or other types of prompts) for the purpose of gathering information from respondents.
Strategy: A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
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