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Data collection answers

  1. The answer is c) Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Return to question 1
  2. It is sometimes better to take a sample survey than a census because it is less expensive, quicker to undertake, serves specialized needs, lessens respondent burden and may only require information from a certain segment of the population. Return to question 2
  4. When choosing a data collection method, you should look at the following elements:
    • cost (budget);
    • time;
    • size of population; and
    • personnel required to perform the chosen method.
    Return to question 4

Discuss the other questions with your class.

Questionnaire answers

Outlined below are just some of the possible problems with the Greenwood Public Library questionnaire. Did you find other problems with this questionnaire? Discuss as a class.


There is no introduction telling the respondent what the purpose of the survey is and what will be done with the results. This would help readers to "screen themselves out" and not fill in the survey if they are not library users.

If you are looking for open and honest results, you should not ask for name and telephone number. People like to know that the information they provide is confidential and will be kept that way.

Question 1:

This question is open and may be better worded as a closed question in order to be able to compare people’s responses. Also, this question should address the reference period being considered (i.e., how often did one visit in the last 12 months, or the last month, or the last week).

Question 2:

The question asks about borrowing books or periodicals. What if you borrowed both? What response would you select if you had borrowed five books and five periodicals? Would you select "1–5" or "5–10"? The other issue with this question is the reference period. Has the borrowing taken place over the last year, the last 10 years or the last month?

Question 3:

This closed question only gives four answers to choose from. However, there may be other reasons for going to the library. You could add an "Other" category with a "please specify" space, or a longer list of reasons including "social activity" or "book signing". As well, you might add an instruction to this question that states "mark all that apply". This way the respondent can choose more than one reason.

Question 4:

The question is fine but does not go far enough in getting the details. The library likely needs to know why respondents’ needs were not satisfied. This question should include a second part that asks respondents to explain how their needs were not satisfied.

Question 5:

This is a double-barreled question. The first problem is that you are asking the respondent two different things in one question. The second problem is that there are no instructions with the response categories provided. Do respondents rank their degree of satisfaction? If so, what does 1 represent? Does 5 stand for poor or excellent?

Question 6:

This is an open question, which makes the various possible responses difficult to code and tabulate. A list of answers (including a final "Other" choice with a space to specify the response) would make this question a lot easier to answer and the results easier to tabulate.

Question 7:

This question asks for a "Yes" or "No" response but the respondent may not know, or may have no opinion regarding any improvements to the library.

Questions 8, 9 and 10:

The first problem with these questions is that Question 9 ("Are you aware of these proposals?") should come before Question 8 ("Do you approve or disapprove of the recent proposals...?") since Question 9 is only relevant to Question 8 if the answer is "Yes".

In Question 8, the respondents are asked whether they approve or disapprove with the entire set of proposals. What if the respondent agreed with some of the proposals and disagreed with others? The available responses do not give a true measure of the proposals. The wording of Question 8 should be changed in order to avoid bias.

The "Go to" part of Question 8 also contains a problem. It sends the respondent to Question 11, therefore respondents who answered "disapprove" to Question 8 would not be given the opportunity to respond to Questions 9 or 10. The instruction should read "(Go to Question 10)".

Question 11:

This question presents the reader with a double negative. Because it is not entirely clear what the question is asking, some respondents could interpret it in different ways. You could reword it to say: "Are you in favour of the library extending the hours of operation?" Include a list of responses such as "__Yes __No __ Don’t care".

Question 12:

This particular question is sensitive and respondents may not feel inclined to answer truthfully or at all. It may be best not to ask this question. If, however, the level of education is relevant and necessary information, then a closed question would allow better quantitative analysis.