Self-administered surveys have broad utility in chemistry education research. They can be useful for gathering data about abstracts ideas that are difficult to quantify (e.g., attitudes, beliefs, opinions, etc.) as well as behaviors that are not directly observable (e.g., resource use, study habits, etc.). That said, “chemistry education research is a theory-based discipline” (Arjoon, Xu, and Lewis, 2013, pp. 536) and thus “useful” surveys will be the best method for answering a specific research question or measuring a particular construct (a model, idea, or theory) of interest. In this session we will think about three key ideas:
- designing a survey with a theoretical framework in mind;
- gathering the evidence necessary to demonstrate that the survey is measuring what you intend; and
- administering the survey so as to collect the most robust data possible.
The pre-reading for this session includes noteworthy examples of these three foci. Please skim these contributions, looking for major themes rather than at the grisly details:
- Xu, X.; Lewis, J.E. Refinement of a chemistry attitude measure for college students. Chem. Educ., 2011, 88(5), 561–568. DOI: 10.1021/ed900071q
- Arjoon, J.A.; Xu, X; Lewis, J.E. Understanding the state of the art for measurement in chemistry education research: Examining the psychometric evidence. Chem. Educ., 2013, 90(5), 536–545. DOI: 10.1021/ed3002013
- Ye, L.; Oueini, R.; Dickerson, A.P.; Lewis, S.E. Learning beyond the classroom: using text messages to measure general chemistry students’ study habits. Educ. Res. Pract., 2015, 16(4), 869–878. DOI: 10.1039/C5RP00100E
So that the session can be somewhat interactive, please also engage in some pre-thinking. It would be great if you could write down a few thoughts related the following questions:
- What construct or phenomenon might you be interested in designing a survey to measure?
- What questions would you ask to get at measuring this construct or phenomenon of interest?