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Table of Contents
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 99-100

Developing an educational research questionnaire to enhance the generalizability of survey findings


1 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission15-Jan-2021
Date of Decision29-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance11-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication12-Apr-2021

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/am.am_7_21

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  Abstract 


In general, most of the researchers in the field of medicine carry out research work in their area of specialty and not give much attention toward educational research. An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine and a total of five articles were selected based on the suitability with the objectives of the current review. It won't be wrong to document that the majority of the educational research is carried out in the form of an educational survey using questionnaire as the data collection tool. However, the reality is that more often than not the questionnaires are poorly designed and does not adopt a rigorous approach to its construction. This calls for the need to adopt a standard approach while designing the questionnaire so that all the study participants identically interpret the questions and give their responses correctly. In conclusion, it is essential for the researchers to use a validated and reliable tool for conducting an educational survey. This can be ensured by strictly adhering to the proposed steps as it significantly improves the quality of the questionnaire used in medical education and thereby enhance the probability of collection of comprehensive data.

Keywords: Educational research, questionnaire, validation


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Developing an educational research questionnaire to enhance the generalizability of survey findings. Apollo Med 2021;18:99-100

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Developing an educational research questionnaire to enhance the generalizability of survey findings. Apollo Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 21];18:99-100. Available from: https://www.apollomedicine.org/text.asp?2021/18/2/99/313694


  Introduction Top


In general, most of the researchers in the field of medicine carry out research work in their area of specialty and not give much attention toward educational research.[1] Considering that the health-related needs of the community are changing and that a lot is expected from a medical student upon successful completion of their course, it becomes the responsibility of the medical educators to deliver the curriculum in an acceptable and useful way. In fact, it is the need of the hour to strengthen research in the field of medical education to improve the delivery of curriculum, check for the feasibility and effectiveness of curricular reforms, evaluate workshops, understand the issues faced by medical students, students' behavior, patient satisfaction, etc.[1],[2]


  Methods Top


An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine. Relevant research articles focusing on educational research questionnaire published in the 2014–2019 period was included in the review. A total of seven studies similar to the current study objectives was identified, of which two were excluded due to the nonavailability of the free version. Finally, five articles were selected based on suitability with the objectives of the current review. Keywords used in the search include educational research and questionnaire. The collected information is presented under the following sub-headings, namely Questionnaire in educational research, Steps to design a questionnaire, Implications for practice, and Implications for research.


  Questionnaire in Educational Research Top


It won't be wrong to document that the majority of the educational research is carried out in the form of an educational survey using questionnaire as the data collection tool.[2],[3] However, the reality is that more often than not the questionnaires are poorly designed and does not adopt a rigorous approach to its construction.[3] This could be in the form of wrongly worded questions, confusing layout, incorrect or inadequate options, incomplete coverage of the research topic, irrelevant questions, etc., and that impacts the reliability and validity of the study findings and eventually raises major questions about the conclusions or generalizability of the study findings.[2],[3],[4]


  Steps to Design a Questionnaire Top


This calls for the need to adopt a standard approach while designing the questionnaire so that all the study participants interpret the questions in an identical manner and give their responses correctly.[4] The process to design a good questionnaire has to start with performing a thorough review of literature which will aid in the identification of the study theme, the availability of similar research on the same topic, and also to ascertain the tool which have been employed in previously conducted studies.[3] It is envisaged that a researcher should aim to adapt a previously existing questionnaire in their own settings rather than starting from the first.[2],[3]

Once the researcher is convinced that it is a must to formulate a new questionnaire, we have to ensure that even the opinion of the study population about the study topic is similar. This step is essential as the researcher unknowingly incorporates their own views, which might deviate from the review of the literature.[4] Thus, the researcher has to obtain the perspective of the potential study participants either through an interview or a focused group discussion. This step is followed by combining the results of the review of the literature with the perspective of participants to come out with the final topic.[4] The next step is to design items which are unambiguous, understandable, and drafted in a language which participants can comprehend well.[1],[2]

The researcher has to take a wise call about the number of items in the questionnaire and also decide about the response items for each of the items.[4] Once the items are designed, the researchers should submit their designed questionnaire to the external experts for validation (viz. whether the survey items are relevant to the topic being assessed and whether essential items are present or not).[3],[5] This has to follow with the conduction of interviews and pilot testing to ascertain the validity and reliability of the designed items. Once the questionnaire passes the acceptable levels of validity and reliability (through estimation of Cronbach's alpha), it should be used for educational research.[3],[4],[5]


  Implications for Practice Top


The Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council of Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, a constituent unit of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, has been actively involved in improving the quality of questionnaires for educational research. A series of workshops for faculty members, postgraduate students, and undergraduate students have been organized for improving the quality of questionnaires. Moreover, all the educational projects have been reviewed periodically by the members of the Institute Research Council and suggestions have been given to improve the generalizability of the findings obtained from the questionnaires. All the institutions should take similar steps to improve the design of the educational questionnaires and ensure that faculty development programs are organized for the medical staff.


  Implications for Research Top


Research work can be carried out to obtain the perspectives of different stakeholders regarding the do's and don'ts in the process of design of an educational questionnaire. Further, group activities can be organized as a part of the workshops and different educational questionnaires can be given to the participants for improvement. In addition, research can also be carried out to improve the analysis of the educational questionnaires.


  Conclusion Top


It is essential for the researchers to use a validated and reliable tool for conducting an educational survey. This can be ensured by strictly adhering to the proposed steps as it significantly improves the quality of the questionnaire used in medical education and thereby enhance the probability of collection of comprehensive data.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Systematically designing a questionnaire to assess the knowledge levels of postgraduate students & faculty about Competency-based medical education. Int J Acad Med 2017;3:331-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Yaddanapudi S, Yaddanapudi LN. How to design a questionnaire. Indian J Anaesth 2019;63:335-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
3.
Hawkins M, Elsworth GR, Osborne RH. Questionnaire validation practice: A protocol for a systematic descriptive literature review of health literacy assessments. BMJ Open 2019;9:e030753.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Artino AR Jr., La Rochelle JS, Dezee KJ, Gehlbach H. Developing questionnaires for educational research: AMEE Guide No. 87. Med Teach 2014;36:463-74.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Boparai JK, Singh S, Kathuria P. How to design and validate a questionnaire: A guide. Curr Clin Pharmacol 2018;13:210-15.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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