Application of summative content analysis to a postal questionnaire
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Application of summative content analysis to a postal questionnaire

Thomas Howard Griffiths Senior lecturer, Swansea University, Swansea, UK

Background Content analysis of replies to closed questions in questionnaires can be undertaken to understand remarks that may explain the responses, provide illustrative examples of issues raised in the questionnaire, define new issues or issues of importance that were not covered in the questionnaire and inform the design of new questions in future surveys.

Aim To discuss the usefulness of summative content analysis to free text in postal questionnaires.

Discussion Content analysis provides useful comparative insights between two respondent groups in the case example provided. Five themes emerged: poor understanding of the concept of ‘patient lateral transfer work technique’ and the direct instrument nursing observation (DINO) instrument’s key directions; outcomes of patient transfer; positive responses; manual handling risk; and poor translation into English of DINO.

Conclusion Respondents need an opportunity to clarify their responses to questionnaires using free text, to provide insight into their understanding of the question being asked, understanding of the concept or construct being discussed, and data triangulation through the confirmation of item responses and free-text comments.

Implications for practice Responses to questions in a postal questionnaire and the opportunity for free-text commentary by respondents enable the identification of hidden meanings behind tickbox responses to questions.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 3, 30-36. doi: 10.7748/nr.23.3.30.s7

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 15 September 2014

Accepted: 19 May 2015

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