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survey analysis

  The various procedures involved in the collection and analysis of data from individuals, almost invariably using questionnaires.

A survey involves several stages. The first is definition of the research problem, including the formulation of hypotheses and identification of the needed information. The second includes determining the population to be studied, which includes deciding whether sampling will be necessary and, if so, how the sample will be taken. The next stage involves deciding how the hypotheses will be tested (including the analytical techniques to be employed), and is followed by development of a questionnaire (which should include pretest stages and pilot investigations).

After administration of the questionnaires, either by the researchers themselves or contracted to a specialist market research company, the data are prepared for analysis: quantitative data are readily dealt with; qualitative information (such as reported occupations and responses to open-ended questions) has to be handled through the development of coding schemes, increasingly through the use of sophisticated computer software for textual analysis. The data are then usually entered into a computer database and checked for consistency (\'cleaning\' the data set) before the analyses are conducted, although increasingly the responses are entered directly to a computer by the interviewer (whether at a face-to-face interview or in an interview by telephone) (cf. secondary data analysis). (RJJ)

Suggested Reading Dixon, C.J. and Leach, B. 1978: Questionnaires and interviews in geographical research. Concepts and techniques in modern geography 18. Norwich: Geo Books. Sheskin, I.M. 1985: Survey research for geographers. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Geographers.



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