Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

1. Design 10 questions that could be used on a self-completion questionnaire investigating pupils’ experiences of sporting activities in school, and type them onto a sheet of paper. Get some fellow students to fill in the questionnaire and ask them the following questions:
(a) How long did it take to complete?
(b) Were the instructions clear?
(c) Were any questions ambiguous?
(d) Were any questions objectionable?
(e) Was the layout clear and easy to follow?
(f) Were any topics omitted?
(g) What items of behaviour would you include if you decided to study the same topic using a structured observation instrument?

2. Design some questions asking about ethnicity, social class and marital status. Go to the UK data service ‘Discover’ website and locate some items that measure the same concepts. Compare these with the ones you have designed.

3. Think of 10 items that might contribute to a scale measuring attitudes towards migration. How would you proceed to select ones that best measure the attitude?

4. Use the Flanders Interaction Categories to study interaction in a student seminar. What categories would need to be changed or added in order to more fully reflect what is going on?

5. Identify at least five themes that you’d include in a quantitatively oriented questionnaire on a particular topic. For each theme write at least two questions or statements that could generate quantitative data.

Possible topics
(a) Public views on whether Britain is a fair society
(b) Public views on British foreign policy
(c) Public views on the funding of British higher education
(d) How tolerant of social and cultural difference is British society?
(e) Public attitudes towards new communication technologies

6. You want to study one of the following groups. In each case, outline the arguments for using structured observation and describe what things you would observe.

(a) Homeless people
(b) Ex-offenders
(c) Politicians
(d) University students
(e) School pupils
(f) Social welfare claimants
(g) Small business owners
(h) Magazine readers