A scheme for judging research quality

1. What were the objectives of the research?

Are they appropriate to the problem to which the findings are now to be applied?

2. What method was used to collect the information? Is it appropriate to the information need?

3. Who was asked the questions?

Is the sample definition appropriate?

4. How many people were asked? Is the sample size adequate?

5. What were the actual questions?

Check the copy of the questionnaire in the technical appendix. Do they seem to be good questions, well framed and appropriate to the objectives?

6. Who did the fieldwork?

Is there a basis for judging the quality of the fieldwork? Were professional interviewers used? What checking procedures were used?

7. When was the fieldwork carried out?

Was the timing sufficiently recent for the results still to hold? Was the time of year/time of day appropriate?

8. Are the tabulations comprehensible?

Are they legible, with clear headings, and indexed?

9. Would further cross-tabulations produce useful information? Are these possible?

10. Is the report in a logical order and readable? Does it make sense?

11. Is there a meaningful summary?

Is it easy to grasp the main points being made?

12. Are there conclusions? (if appropriate) Are they supported by the data?

13. Did the research meet its objectives, and if not, why not? Does this invalidate the research?

A satisfactory answer to all these questions should reassure the decision maker that the report to be used is of real relevance to the current problem, and is of sufficiently good quality for its findings to be applied with some confidence. An unsatisfactory answer to some or all of the questions would indicate the use of appropriate caution in applying the findings of such research.

Team LiB

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