How has the public valorization of grocery workers as ‘essential | SYA 3300 | Florida International University, Modesto A. Maidique Campus

Assignment Overview

This assignment will have three parts. In Part One, you will operationalize your research question by deciding the dimensions of your concept that your survey will measure. In Part Two, you will create a survey questionnaire that consists of a minimum of fifteen close-ended questions. While some of these questions can (and should) be demographic questions, at least 8 questions must be designed to measure the concept of interest. In Part Three, you will write a short essay describing your plans for conducting a survey based on nonprobability sampling and will reflect on some of the limitations of your hypothetical method of data collection. You will turn in your work for Part Two and Part Three. I will not collect Part One, but you need to it in order to be able to complete the other parts.

I. Conceptualization and Operationalization of your Research Question

(a) For this assignment, you will be working with one of the research questions below

How has the public valorization of grocery workers as ‘essential workers’ and ‘pandemic heroes’, changed grocery workers’ perceptions of  their jobs and their relations with management?”

(b) You will observe that each of the research questions above has at least one abstract concept. You will need to specify what you mean by this concept. In order to illustrate the stages of this process, I will draw upon Calarco et al’s research. You will recall they were interested in determining, “How is time spent with children related to changes in mothers’ wellbeing during the pandemic”. Calarco et al. defined wellbeing as a “state of being free from frustration, stress, and anxiety”. 

(c) You will then need to operationalize your research question by deciding how you will measure this concept. You can do this by deciding the dimensions of the concept that you are interested in measuring. For instance, Calarco et al. decided that mothers’ wellbeing had three dimensions (level of frustration, stress, and anxiety). These were their variables. They then developed indicators (survey questions) to measure each variable. You can jot down a question for each variable now, but you will be refining the questions in Part Two of the assignment.

(d) Don’t forget, you will need to operationalize your independent variable as well. For instance, Calarco et al. asked mothers how the amount of time that they spent with their children had changed when compared with prior to the pandemic.

(e) Note: Sometimes in the process of conceptualization or operationalization, you may decide that you need to change your research question or concept. That’s okay! Don’t feel as if you must use the question in its current form.

II. Survey Questionnaire Design

(a) Review existing surveys to get a feel for how to write survey questions and potentially locate questions that you can modify for your own survey. Here are a couple of different surveys to check out (I encourage you to search for surveys on your topic. Survey instruments are sometimes included as an appendix in books or especially in reports).

*National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997) (Links to an external site.) – Questions about how people find their job, how much people are paid, why they leave their job

*Survey of Foxconn Factory workers (2012) (Links to an external site.) – “perceptions of employees on a range of topics”

*Survey of Community Health workers in North Carolina (Links to an external site.) (2017) – designed to identify the roles that community health workers play in their communities and their attitudes toward forming a network of community health workers 

(b) Write 15 questions for your survey (note: writing survey questions entails posing both the question and possible answer choices) taking into consideration the dos and don’ts described below. 

*At least 8 of the questions should be designed to measure your research question 

*The other 7 questions may be used to get demographic information (such as age, gender, years of employment, education) relevant to understanding the group of workers in question

*At least 13 questions should be exhaustive and mutually exclusive 

In designing your 15 questions, take into consideration the following Dos and Don’ts

Dos:

1. Use simple, direct language
Ex. job concerns NOT work-related concerns

2. Minimize bias

Ex. people are more likely to express support for “assistance for the poor” than “welfare” because the latter term has been framed in public discourse as associated with ‘loafers and bums’

3. Allow for uncertainty

Ex. Include “Don’t Know” or “No opinion” at the end of your survey

4. Make response categories exhaustive and mutually exclusive (i.e. all possibilities should be offered and response choices should not overlap). Note, you can have some ‘check all that apply’ questions in the event that it is not possible to design a ‘mutually exclusive question’

Don’ts

1. Avoid negative phrases or words, especially double negatives

Ex. Do you disagree that there should not be a tax increase?

2. Avoid double-barreled questions (i.e. a question that actually asks two questions but allows for one answer)

Ex. Our business uses reviews and incentive plans to drive employee behavior. Do you agree or disagree?

3. Don’t ask questions they can’t answer

Ex. When surveying university faculty, don’t ask them questions about which only students will know the answer.

(c) Consider question order

1. Sort into thematic categories (e.g. Demographics; Wellness during Covid) 

2. Make sure your first question [in non-demographic section] is…

Interesting
Easy
Applies to everyone in sample
Isn’t sensitive

(d) Pretest your questionnaire by conducting a cognitive interview using ‘think aloud’ and ‘probing’. (Consult lecture slides for an explanation of how to conduct a cognitive interview or watch this video (Links to an external site.)). Record your cognitive interview. 

(e) Refine your survey instrument based on the issues revealed in the pretest.

III. Survey Methodology Memo

You have decided to use your research question as the basis of your undergraduate honor’s thesis at FIU and your advisor has asked you to write a memo (approximately 500 words) describing your survey question and methodology. Include the following in your memo:

(a) Describe your research question – and indicate why it is a good research question by describing the three criteria *Remember, your project must be feasible to be carried out over a few months as an undergraduate with a small to no budget*
(b) Describe (i) the main concept of interest (ii) how you are defining the concept (iii) how you measuring the concept with variable and indicators (It might be nice to display these in a chart)
(c) Describe how you plan to sample your population of interest.
*Note, for most undergraduates it won’t be feasible to conduct a ‘simple random sample survey’ of all workers of a certain group (for example, all janitors in Miami for reasons that we have discussed.)
(d) Describe how your survey will be administered (i.e. phone, online, mail etc) and why you have selected this method of administration.
(e) Describe the strengths and limitations of your survey design. (Be sure to address any issues with bias and unrepresentativeness; anticipated issues with non-response; limits to generalizability; and error which might result from the method through which you are administering your survey.)

IV. Assignment Submission 

(a) Combine your survey questionnaire and your essay into a single PDF document, upload. 
(b) Upload the recording of your survey pretest.

*You can choose to work on this project as a group. If you choose to submit this project as a group then each member of the group should upload an identical PDF for (a) and their own individual survey pretest for (b) (*Each member of the group MUST pretest the survey individually*) 

V. Grading 

(a) Pretest (20%) – This will be graded on completion 
(b) Survey questionnaire (30%) – This will be graded on the extent to which you adhered to the Dos and Don’ts of survey question design. 
(c) Survey methodology memo (50%) 

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