In the current version of SQP, only the texts that are read to or by the respondent should be presented. Thus, such texts include the 'Introduction' (if used), the 'Request for an answer' and the 'Answer options'. This implies that all instructions to the interviewer, or everything which is not read to or by the respondent, should not be introduced in the SQP text. Whenever a respondent instruction is used, this text should be introduced in the box 'Request for an answer'.
However, some characteristics will require identifying the extra information during the coding process (e.g. interviewer instructions, use of showcards, showcard layout, don't know option, etcâ¦). Therefore, the coding should be done having the real questionnaire at hand to detect the characteristics that cannot be identified by the SQP text.
SQP has a special way of treating batteries of questions. A question battery consists of a set of stimuli or statements that need to be evaluated by the respondent and have a common request for an answer and the same answer options. In SQP, the request for an answer and, if applicable, the introduction will be placed before the first stimulus or statement in the battery. A stimulus can be a noun or a combination of nouns (e.g., a party name, a name of an institution, or a brand), while a statement consists of a complete sentence. The coder must reflect on how the text of a question battery is read to or read by the respondent and code each item accordingly.
Below is an example of a battery from the ESS Round 6. In this questionnaire, items E17 to E19 asked about the democracy in the country using the following battery of questions:
"Now some questions on the same topics, but this time about how you think democracy is working in [country] today. Again, there are no right or wrong answers, so please just tell me what you think.
Using this card, please tell me to what extent you think each of the following statements applies in [country]. 0 means you think the statement does not apply at all and 10 means you think it applies completely.
|Does not apply at all||Applies completely|
|E17 National elections in [country] are free and fair||0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10|
|E18 Voters in [country] discuss with people they know before deciding how to vote||0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10|
|E19 Different political parties in [country] offer clear alternatives to one another||0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10|
This battery is introduced in SQP in the way the interviewer reads the battery to the respondent. That is: (1) the introduction, (2) the request for an answer, and (3) the first statement. These texts together form the first question the respondent has to answer. Next, the second statement is read to the respondent, and the respondent gives an answer. And finally, the third statement is read out. For all the statements following the first one, the introduction and the request for an answer are not repeated. Consequently, these questions only consist of the stimulus or statement.
Thus, the battery should be added to SQP as indicated below, even when it is self-completed (i.e., an interviewer is not reading the questions).
This way of introducing the question into SQP matters for coding the characteristics 'formulation of the request for an answer' and 'use of stimulus or statement in the request.'
Following the example, it should be indicated that question E17 is formulated as an indirect request ("Using this card, please tell me to what extent you think each of the following statements applies in [country]...") with a stimulus or statement present ("National elections in [country] are free and fair") preceded by an introduction. However, questions E18 and E19 are coded as having 'no request present' (for the characteristic 'formulation of the request for an answer') but a stimulus or statement (i.e., E18 = "Voters in [country] discuss politics with people they know before deciding how to vote"; E19 = "Different political parties in [country] offer clear alternatives in one another").
No, the 'Don't know' option should not be treated as a category in the answer options. Thus, it does not have to be counted in the characteristic 'Number of categories' and should never appear in the SQP answer text box. However, this does not mean it is not coded in SQP.