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Chapter 7 - Analysing the Data Part IV - Analysis of Variance Chapter 1 - Behavioural Science and research Chapter 2 - Research Design Chapter 3 - Collecting the Data Chapter 4 - Analysing the Data Part I - Descriptive Statistics Chapter 5 - Analysing the Data Part II - Inferential Statistics Chapter 6 - Analysing the Data Part III - Common Statistical Tests Sources of data Samples and populations Sampling methods Quantitative and qualitative approaches Questionnaire design Coding of data Readings and links


Chapter 3: Collecting the Data


Open ended questions

Coding closed-ended questions is relatively easy. But a problem occurs when you try to code open-ended questions. An open-ended question might ask, "What is your occupation?" and you want to be able to use this information in your analyses. First you could code every different occupation with a different number. This would work but you would only be able to carry out very limited analyses. A better approach would be to group occupations according to some dimension. It might be socioeconomic status (SES) for example. So we might have three levels of SES: low, middle, high (and therefore use the numbers 1, 2, and 3 respectively). Then when you come across "truck driver" you decide to put this in "Low" and give it a 1. A response of "doctor" might be put into "High" and be given a 3. You can see that this is very arbitrary and open to quite different results depending upon who is doing the coding. So obviously you need to find standardised ways or unambiguous ways of doing the coding. A good option is to get two people to do the coding and see how well they agree (inter-rater or inter-coder reliability). If the coding system you have is clear and consistent you will get a high correlation and if it is poor you will get a low correlation.




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