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					    Introduction to the ESRC Question Bank
         and ESRC Survey Link Scheme


            Julie Lamb and Martin Bulmer
               Department of Sociology
                  University of Surrey



http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
 Aims of the presentation
• Introduction
• The Question Bank – a brief
  introduction
• Advantages and disadvantages of
  using available questions
• The Survey Link Scheme



 http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
What is the Qb?
• Established in 1996 when there
  were few online survey resources
  and questionnaires were often hard
  to find.
• 1995 – 2005 part of Centre for
  Applied Social Surveys
• Now a stand alone resource funded
  by ESRC at the University of Surrey

http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Who is it for?


• Aimed at;
        • Researchers devising survey questions
        • Secondary data analysts
        • Teachers and students of research methods




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Qb Key Aims
1. Bridge the gap of understanding between
   survey professionals and academic
   researchers;
2. Provide standardised quantitative
   measures of key variables;
3. Capture key survey instruments; and
4. Be freely available online (no
   registration)


http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
What material do we hold?
    – Questionnaires from important social
      surveys
    – Question background material
    – Commentary on topics and concepts
    – NO DATA!
• Three main areas of the site;
    – Surveys
    – Topics
    – Resources
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Surveys
• 58 surveys covering wide topic range
• 1991 onwards
• National probability samples
• Linked to data sets at UK Data
  Archive
• Overviews and resources


http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Questionnaires

• All in original format
• CAPI
• PDF files for easy download
• Chunked for easy navigation
• Related material, e.g. diaries,
  advance letters


http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Topics

• 22 Key social science topic areas
• Commentary on social measurement
  in those areas
• Key Variables chapters
• ESDS resources
• Links
• Bibliographies
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Resources
• All about the QB! (User Guide)
• CAPI explained
• Harmonisation Booklets
• Survey Link Scheme
• Teaching presentations
• Contact details


http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Searching the QB

• 40,000 pages, 58 Surveys, 22
  Topics
    = A lot of material !!
• Three strategies
    – Surveys menu (going directly to the
      required file)
    – Topics menu
    – The Search Engine
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
The Search Engine
    – Indexes entire site everyday and
      creates a database for user to search
    – Searches HTML and PDF documents
    – Highlights ALL keywords
    – Directs you to the file (you need Adobe Reader)
    -Search by Year and Survey if desired




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Priorities for Nov 2005 – Aug 08
• Updating and expansion of existing content
• Work to enhance the Topic area of the site
• Include a limited selection of European surveys
• Research into how CAPI should be represented
• Research into the effects on users of the DDI (nb
  – Qb has now joined the DDI alliance)
• Continue to outreach to UK and International
  academic and research communities




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Uses of questions
    –Ready-made questions
    –Traceable route – from analysis
     back to questions
    –Check for validity and reliability of
     questions
    –Use existing questions to develop
     concepts

http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Using Questions…
• Examples of Question use by researchers:
   – Locating specific variable in a dataset
   – Taking example of questions from
     existing surveys
   – Finding out about a survey not carried
     out in your department / research area
   – Tendering for a survey / applying for
     funding
   – Responding to queries from policy
     makers / customers
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Advantages
• The questions are likely to be good indicators of
  the original measurement concept, and include
  response categories
• Look at the show cards, advance letters, survey
  design and so on
• Comparisons to other surveys in the field
• Savings in terms of;
    – Costs – no developers needed
    – Time – researching and testing
    – No pilot testing needed of individual questions (still of
      the whole questionnaire though)
• In many cases you can see the response rates to
  the question using NESSTAR

http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Disadvantages
• Might not find exactly what you need
  (or may measure wrong concept)
• Context within the Blaise
  questionnaire (routing)
• Need a very good understanding of
  the original context (takes time to
  read and find)
• Copyright issues (especially with
  instruments)
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
What does a CAPI questionnaire
look like on paper?
• Blaise codes either left in or taken
  out
    – If left in the questions are difficult to
      follow
    – If taken out there is no way for the
      researcher to see the routing
• Most research reports with a
  questionnaire at the back have a
  modified version of the Blaise codes
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Using the Qb: Summary
• Readily accessible bank of questions
• Entire surveys available for download
• Questions
    – Process of operationalisation already
      proofed
    – Benchmarked officially
    – Tried and tested in the field
    – Chunked ready for download

http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Feedback
• Help us to develop the Qb resource
• Online user survey
• Contact us: qb@surrey.ac.uk
• Join the mailing list!




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
                                        Survey

The Survey Link Scheme                  Link

                                        Scheme


• Qb works very closely with the SLS team
• Provide training days in survey data
  collection focusing particularly on CAPI
  and upon it’s use in one particular major
  survey in each workshop
• Try to arrange for participants from
  training days to go out with an interviewer
  in the field
• http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sls.htm
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
What is involved?
 Attending a 1-Day Workshop at the
  Regional location of your choice
 An optional fieldwork visit with an
  Interviewer within NATCEN, ONS,
  ISER, and BMRB
 Submitting a short comment on the
  experience
 Travel expenses are paid

http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Workshops
The one day includes:

     A brief overview of the BLAISE computer program
      used in the development of questionnaires

     Construction of the questionnaire and practical
      discussion on interviewing

     A Survey Organisation’s presentation on the use of
      CAPI on a major survey undertaken by the major
      organisations


http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
   Survey

   Link
               Current Workshop Programme
   Schem e




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Organisations in the Scheme
 Office for National Statistics (ONS)
 National Centre for Social Research
  (NATCEN)
 Institute for Social and Economic Research
  (ISER), University of Essex in
  collaboration with NOP
 BMRB INTERNATIONAL



http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
The surveys

   Health Survey for England
   Millennium Cohort Study
   British Household Panel Survey
   General Household Survey
   Family Resources Survey
   Families and Children Survey
   Northern Ireland Life and Times
    Survey
http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Who Benefits?
• Social Science Researchers

• Post Graduate Students:
    – MSc.
    – Ph.D.
• Teachers of Research Methods
• Researchers (non-Academic)

http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
   Survey

   Link
                  Why Apply…..
   Schem e




 Currently few Social Research Methods Courses for
 postgraduates provide more than a general treatment of
 Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI).

 Even fewer, if any, provide training in the use of the
 BLAISE software - normally used to construct the CAPI
 scripts produced by the major survey organisations.



http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
   Survey

   Link
                  Why Apply?
   Schem e




 “Secondary analysts sometimes forget where the data come from, and tend
 to lose the focus: …… or interpret them according to their mental
 schemes.“

 “The knowledge of how a survey is organised from the start will stand me
 in good stead when next making use of the data and particularly ………
 deciding on the sort of questions to be asked.”

 “ My own work uses qualitative methods …really valuable to gain an
 insight into data collection …on a large quantitative survey”




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
   Survey

   Link
                  Further details
   Schem e




 Details of most of the surveys may be found in
 the Question Bank, a Web resource at
 http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk.

 The SLS pages are updated as the Scheme
 develops with the Survey Organisations.




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk
Contacts
• Online:
        http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sls.htm


• E-Mail:
       Email: sls@surrey.ac.uk
       Tel:      01483 682796




http://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk

				
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