``Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Tell Us'' – Methodological Issues in the Use of Free-Text Comments from Postal Surveys
- 478 Downloads
Free-text comments are often invited at the end of self-completion questionnaires,yet text books provide no guidance on how these might be used. We describe avariety of ways in which free-text comments can be used, drawing on two examples.
An Audit Commission study of NHS maternity care included a national samplesurvey of 3570 women who gave birth in June and July 1995. At the end of thequestionnaire women were asked: Is there anything else you would like to tellus about your care while you were pregnant or since you have had your baby.
The United Kingdom Medical Careers Research Group conducts whole-cohort longitudinal studies of graduates from all UK medical schools. At the end of each survey doctors are invited to write comments on ``any aspect of your training,career choices or work''.
The authors discuss the inherent limitations of free-text comments, the relativemerits of quantifying the frequencies of themes, and the ways in which free-textcomments can be used to enhance survey analysis. They conclude that whilefree-text comments are no substitute for properly designed research, they arenevertheless valuable in understanding and illustrating participants' surveyresponses, and in suggesting topics for further research.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Abramson, J. H. (1979). Survey Methods in Community Medicine. Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
- Audit Commission (1997). First Class Delivery. London: Audit Commission.Google Scholar
- Bell, J. (1993). Doing Your Research Project. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Black, N., Brazier, J., Fitzpatrick, R. & Reeves, B. (eds) (1998). Health Services Research Methods: A Guide to Best Practice. London: BMJ Books.Google Scholar
- Bowling, A. (1997). Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Brynner, J. & Stribley, K. M. (eds) (1979). Social Research: Principles and Procedures. New York: OU and The Longman Inc.Google Scholar
- Chamberlain, G., Wraight, A. & Steer, P. (eds) (1993). Pain and Its Relief in Childbirth. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
- Cohen, L. & Manion, L. (1980). Research Methods in Education. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
- Crombie, I. K. & Davies, H. T. O. (1996). Research in Health Care. Chichester, Wiley.Google Scholar
- De Vaus, D. A. (1991). Surveys in Social Research, 3rd edn. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
- Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S. (eds) (1998). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dey, I. (1993). Qualitative Data Analysis: A User-Friendly Guide for Social Scientists. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Evans, J., Goldacre, M. J. & Lambert, T. W. (2000). Views of UK medical graduates about flexible and part-time working in medicine: a qualitative study. Medical Education 34: 355–362.Google Scholar
- Evans, J., Lambert, T. W. & Goldacre, M. J. (2002a). GP recruitment and retention: a qualitative analysis of doctors' comments about training for and working in general practice. Royal College of General Practitioners Occasional Paper 83.Google Scholar
- Evans, J., Goldacre, M. J. & Lambert, T.W. (2002b). Views of junior doctors about the Specialist Registrar (SpR) training scheme: a qualitative study of UK medical graduates. Medical Education, in press.Google Scholar
- Fink, A (ed) (1995). The Survey Kit. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.Google Scholar
- Garcia, J., Redshaw, M., Fitzsimons, B. & Keene, J. (1998). First Class Delivery: A National Survey of Women's Views of Maternity Care. London: Audit Commission.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, N. (ed) (1993). Researching Social Life. London: SageGoogle Scholar
- Glaser, B. G. & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
- Goldacre, M. J., Lambert, T. W. & Parkhouse, J. (1998). Views of doctors in the United Kingdom about their own professional position and the National Health Service reforms. Journal of Public Health Medicine 20: 86–92.Google Scholar
- Lambert, T.W., Goldacre, M. J. & Evans, J. (2000). Views of junior doctors about their work: survey of qualifiers of 1993 and 1996 from United Kingdom medical schools. Medical Education 34: 348–354.Google Scholar
- Mason, V. (1989). Women's Experiences of Maternity Care: A Survey Manual, London: OPCS.Google Scholar
- Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis, 2nd edn. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.Google Scholar
- Moser, C. A. & Kalton, G. (1971). Survey Methods in Social Investigation. Aldershot, Hants: Dartmouth Publishing Company Ltd.Google Scholar
- Nation, J. R. (1997). Research Methods. New Jersey, Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Parkhouse, J. (1991). Doctors' Careers. Aims and Experiences of Medical Graduates. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- QSR International Pty Ltd. (2000). N5 (Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching & Theorizing) Qualitative Data Analysis Program (Version 5.0). Melbourne, Australia: QSR International Pty Ltd.Google Scholar
- Redshaw, M., Harris, A. & Ingram, J. (1996). Delivering Neonatal Care: The Neonatal Unit as a Working Environment. London HMSO.Google Scholar
- Robson, C. (1993). Real World Research. Oxford, Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Silverman, D. (1993). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Silverman, D. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Smith, H. W. (1975). Strategies of Social Research: The Methodological imagination. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar