Take a slice, and we’ll get started.

At the moment in BCM210 we are starting to explore the practical side of Research and Media Practices. We have been asked to design and conduct questionnaires. In an effort to pilot my questionnaire, I sat down and interviewed a fellow UOW student, Alex Brewer, who has very kindly given me consent to use his name on my blog.

Because I actually sat down and asked Alex questions, rather than have him complete a hand-out of the questionnaire, the interaction can be classed as an interview. An interview is simply a conversation between a researcher and a respondent (McCutcheon 2015). Though the ‘interview’ itself was fairly informal (and by informal, I mean sitting-on-a-lounge-eating-pizza informal)

I used pizza as bribery to get Alex to help out with the interview.

I used pizza as bribery to get Alex to help out with the interview.

the style of questions I asked could classify it as a structured interview, as it had similar questions to the questionnaire. The advantage of this style of interview are that you are provided with answers that relate directly to your questions, which would allow you to easily compare findings between respondents (Weerakkody 2009; in McCutcheon 2015). The ability to easily compare findings will be important for our questionnaire. The addition of open-ended questions for the purpose of the interview, could also classify it as a semi-structured interview (McCutcheon 2015).

At the beginning of the interview I asked Alex demographic-based questions to establish gender, student-status and employment-status. In order to collect accurate results, I voice-recorded the interview (so that I would have the joy of being able to listen to my own voice on record, which is always fun, and not at all cringe-inducing). When I listened to our first take, I realised that I was unintentionally asking leading questions (Berger 2014; in McCutcheon 2015), so for the second recording I made sure to stick to my questions. The purpose of conducting this interview was to pilot the questionnaire. We will be unable to obtain any extra information from the questionnaire, because instead of having a conversation with each respondent to collect information, we will simply be handing them a piece of paper to fill out. This meant that I needed to make sure we would be getting enough information from our questions, because we won’t be able to ask for additional information.

From this pilot, I found that the questions worked quite well. However, when asked question 7, ‘On a scale of 1 –5, how influenced are your purchasing decisions by social media (1 being extremely influenced, and 5 being not influenced in any way)?’ Alex responded with two different answers. He was ‘extremely influenced’ by people’s posts on social media, but was ‘not influenced at all’ by ads on social media. This brings up an interesting point that will need to be addressed, and clarified in the questionnaire.

Myself and my group for the Survey and Interview, each filled out the questionnaire and discussed our own results, but conducted separate interviews. Now we will be able to report back and discuss what we found worked and what didn’t with respondents before we actually hand out the questionnaires.

How is everyone else finding the creation of questionnaires? Has anyone else piloted theirs yet with similar results? I recently read a great post for this week’s topic over on Flog My _Blog, written by a fellow UOW BCM210 student, so check that out here. I also found some great tips from Monash University on conducting research interviews that may be helpful, so check that out here.

Reference List:

McCutcheon, M 2015, BCM210 Lecture 6 Interviews Focus Groups: 2015 lecture slides: 15th April 2015, UOW, Semester 1, 2015.

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