I’ve received feedback from nearly everyone to whom I sent my original draft instrument. I’ve incorporated their feedback and both my synopsis and instrument are much improved. In my synopsis, I was careful to document the changes I made to the original draft and why I made those changes. I don’t know if that documentation will make into the final dissertation but it’s very helpful for me. It’s the kind of documentation that I imagine is unneeded much of the time but when it is needed it’s invaluable.
I also finished the draft advertisements for my pilot study. I first plan to conduct five cognitive interviews with undergraduate students here at Indiana University. These interviews are a way to understand how respondents understand (or misunderstand) the questions and responses on the survey instrument. In these interviews, the participants are asked to (a) read aloud the questions and responses, (b) verbalize any questions or thoughts they have as they read the instrument, and (c) think aloud as they answer the questions. Asking the participants to think aloud – the “cognitive” part of the cognitive interview – gives us an insight into how they understand and answer the questions. The advertisements for the cognitive interviews are rather simple and I will be compensating participants $10.
After conducting the cognitive interviews and making any necessary changes to the survey instrument, I will then pilot the instrument by administering it to 60 Indiana University undergraduate students. As you can see in the advertisement (here is a different view), I hope to print out large (11×17) flyers, place pockets on them, and insert survey instruments into the pockets. I will only be advertising in this one building so it should be very easy for students to grab a survey, fill it out, and return it for their $3 compensation.
I’m sure that both IU Residential Programs and Services (RPS) and IRB will want changes made to these advertisements. But I’ve got good drafts and I am hopeful that they will not be changed much! RPS is getting first crack at them because I am not quite sure if they’ll let me put surveys in the flyers so if they don’t like that then I’ll have to (slightly) change how I distribute the instruments. Once I get the thumbs up from RPS, I’m off to IRB!