The four Dutch students appearing in the the "Model
on your CD, made the questionnaire that you will find below. First
see how the questionnaire was actually used.
Then read below how the students chose their topic and made their questionnaire.
The students wanted to find out if ordinary Brits conform to the well-known stereotypes associated with "being British". So, in preparing their questionnaire, the students began by defining 10 characteristics commonly associated with "stereotypical Brits." Then they formulated a question or two involving each characteristic and predicted the probable answers that their British interviewees would give.
According to these Dutch students, a "typical Brit" has 10 characteristics. She or he is:
nationalistic (so they expected a strong "yes" to question 1 and "no" to question 14),
law-abiding, (for question 2, they expected strong action to be taken),
staid (for question 3 they expected "I agree") ,
puritan (for question 4 they expected "I agree"),
to the point, especially in business (for questions 5 & 6 they expected low numbers),
reserved about private life (for questions 7-9 they expected that sexuality or money problems would never be discussed in any of the situations),
orderly and keen on keeping order (they expected "I agree" for questions 10, 11),
not very ecological (they expected no for question 12).
fond of Holland since the Dutch are also orderly, law-abiding, "to the point" (question 13);
keen on living there or in Scandinavia, for the same reasons (question 15).
Whatever topic you select for your questionnaire, follow these four steps:
define a few characteristic language habits or attitudes,
make questions that you think reveal if an interviewee has them,
predict the answers that you think you will get from your interviewees
say why the answers you obtain are valid evidence of certain (stereotypical? constitutive? mythical?) characteristics of the culture of your interviewees.
As to the form of your questionnaire, technically speaking, it should have the three most important characteristics of the Dutch students' questionnaire.
It should contain a few redundant questions (i.e. questions that test the same linguistic habit or attitude). If your interviewee gives you completely different responses to these questions, it may mean that:
your questions are ambiguous (the interviewee understands different things for each);
or your questions do not really test the same characteristic, but rather different variants;
or your interviewee is not being sincere and "adapts" his/her answers case by case.*
*Many interviewees, to "help" you with your research, try to tell you what they think you want to hear!
It should be at least partly QUANTITATIVE.
QUANTITATIVE means that you oblige your interviewee to answer with a number or with one of a fixed number of alternatives, in order to permit compiling statistics.
This does not exclude asking QUALITATIVE questions, such as questions 13 and 15 in the questionnaire below. QUALITATIVE means that your interviewee can give any answer, expressing her/his subjectivity as s/he wishes.
The questions should be brief, the answer boxes aligned for quick marking, and the key words highlighted . AND THAT'S IT!
Now see the actual questionnaire constructed by the four Dutch students.
Note: Their questionnaire contains 15 questions - and that is a lot.
It would be better if your first questionnaire had no more than 8-10 questions.
Questionnaire (used in Model Interview 2 on the CD)
Smile and look your interviewee in the eye.
Then ask : "Do you speak English?"
Explain your purpose.
Then ask : "Are you British?" ( If necessary: "Do most British people consider you British when speaking with you?)
Finally, get permission to ask questions.
The highlighted words you should speak slowly and clearly.
How proud are you to be a British citizen?
On a scale of:
very proud 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 not very proud
Why? Any comment? ________________________________________
What would you do if you were waiting in a shop or in front of a museum and somebody jumped the queue? Would you:
make a loud comment to another person in the queue?
talk to the person who has done it?
barge the queue in front of them?
Do you agree that people should not show their emotions in public? (anger, sadness...)
Do you agree that people should not kiss and hug in the street when they're middle aged?
Is it important to start (any) conversation with smalltalk?
On a ten point scale:
very important 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 not very important
Suppose you have an appointment with the mayor of your city about a problem you have (e.g. a building permit). How long would the smalltalk be before the two of you get to the point?
What topics would you avoid in smalltalk with a good friend?
Choose 3 from these 5:
What topics do you avoid in smalltalk with a not-very-intimate acquaintance?
Choose 3 from these 5:
What topics would you avoid in smalltalk with someone who has a higher position (like your boss)?
Choose 3 from these 5:
Do you agree that throwing something down on the street (like an empty cigarette pack) is unacceptable behaviour?
Do you or do you not agree with the following statement: "If I see someone littering in public, I feel like I have to confront that person."
Do you agree with this statement: "I don't mind paying a higher price for something in a shop if it has a green label."