A Survey Method about Dropout Rates

Example 8.1 A Survey Method Section

An example follows of a survey method section that illustrates many of the steps just mentioned. This excerpt (used with permission) comes from a journal article reporting a study of factors affecting student attrition in one small liberal arts college (Bean & Creswell, 1980 , pp. 321–322).


The site of this study was a small (enrollment 1,000), religious, coeducational, liberal arts college in a Midwestern city with a population of 175,000 people. [Authors identified the research site and population.]

The dropout rate the previous year was 25%. Dropout rates tend to be highest among freshmen and sophomores, so an attempt was made to reach as many freshmen and sophomores as possible by distribution of the questionnaire through classes. Research on attrition indicates that males and females drop out of college for different reasons (Bean, 1978, in press; Spady, 1971). Therefore, only women were analyzed in this study.

During April 1979, 169 women returned questionnaires. A homogeneous sample of 135 women who were 25 years old or younger, unmarried, full-time U.S. citizens, and Caucasian was selected for this analysis to exclude some possible confounding variables (Kerlinger, 1973).

Of these women, 71 were freshmen, 55 were sophomores, and 9 were juniors. Of the students, 95% were between the ages of 18 and 21. This sample is biased toward higher-ability students as indicated by scores on the ACT test. [Authors presented descriptive information about the sample.]

Data were collected by means of a questionnaire containing 116 items. The majority of these were Likert-like items based on a scale from “a very small extent” to “a very great extent.” Other questions asked for factual information, such as ACT scores, high school grades, and parents’ educational level. All information used in this analysis was derived from questionnaire data. This questionnaire had been developed and tested at three other institutions before its use at this college. [Authors discussed the instrument.]

Concurrent and convergent validity (Campbell & Fiske, 1959 ) of these measures was established through factor analysis, and was found to be at an adequate level. Reliability of the factors was established through the coefficient alpha. The constructs were represented by 25 measures—multiple items combined on the basis of factor analysis to make indices—and 27 measures were single item indicators. [Validity and reliability were addressed.]

Multiple regression and path analysis (Heise, 1969; Kerlinger & Pedhazur, 1973) were used to analyze the data. In the causal model …, intent to leave was regressed on all variables which preceded it in the causal sequence. Intervening variables significantly related to intent to leave were then regressed on organizational variables, personal variables, environmental variables, and background variables. [Data analysis steps were presented.]

Table 8.1 A Checklist of Questions for Designing a Survey Method

__________ Is the purpose of a survey design stated?
__________ Are the reasons for choosing the design mentioned?
__________ Is the nature of the survey (cross-sectional vs. longitudinal) identified?
__________ Is the population and its size mentioned?
__________ Will the population be stratified? If so, how?
__________ How many people will be in the sample? On what basis was this size chosen?
__________ What will be the procedure for sampling these individuals (e.g., random, nonrandom)?
__________ What instrument will be used in the survey? Who developed the instrument?
__________ What are the content areas addressed in the survey? The scales?
__________ What procedure will be used to pilot or field-test the survey?
__________ What is the timeline for administering the survey?
__________ What are the variables in the study?
__________ How do these variables cross-reference with the research questions and items on the survey?
  What specific steps will be taken in data analysis to do the following:
(a)_______ Analyze returns?
(b)_______ Check for response bias?
(c)_______ Conduct a descriptive analysis?
(d)_______ Collapse items into scales?
(e)_______ Check for reliability of scales?
(f)_______ Run inferential statistics to answer the research questions or assess practical implications of the results?
_______ How will the results be interpreted?

Order a Unique Copy of this Paper

Essay Creek is an academic writing service provided to you by, a London-based company.

  • Experience
    Helping students successfully for 11 years.
  • Confidentiality & Security
    Be sure your information will be kept confidential due to our secure service.
  • Quality & Reliability
    8.5 out of 10 average quality score according to our customers' feedback. 97.45% of orders delivered on time.
  • Versatility
    478 active writers in 68 disciplines.
  • 100% money back guarantee
    You can always request a refund if you are not satisfied with the result.

Read more about us

Our team of writers is comprised of people with necessary academic writing skills and experience in various fields of study.

  • Skilled writers only
    We carefully choose writers to employ, paying attention to their skills and abilities.
  • Competence
    Your order will be assigned to a competent writer who specializes in your field of study.
  • In-depth knowledge
    Our writers know both peculiarities of academic writing and paper formatting rules.
  • Motivation
    We keep updated on results our writers show, motivating them to constantly improve their performance.

Read more about our writers

  • Testimonials
    Our clients' testimonials prove we're doing everything right.

Check for yourself

  • Sample essays
    The best way to understand how well our writers do their work is to view sample essays written by them.

View samples

  • Our Free Essay Tools
    Even more opportunities to improve your academic papers.

Bibliography Generator
Words to Pages Converter
Words to Minutes Converter
College GPA Calculator
Thesis statement generator