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SunSmart iPhone Application Report


SunSmart is a nonprofit organization that is located in Victoria. The organization began operating in 1988 through a joint funding of the Cancer Council Victoria and Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (Vic Health). Alongside the core aim of minimizing the human cost of skin cancer in Victoria, SunSmart also aims to promote and improve the awareness of a balanced approach to UV exposure and the link with vitamin D.

The cornerstone of SunSmart’s work is raising awareness and providing sun protection advice to the Victorian public. This work involves ongoing research initiatives and campaigns to promote sun protection and prevent skin cancer. SunSmart and Cancer Council Victoria believe that investment into developing a strong research base is essential in developing the most effective programs and policies.

Past and continuing research involves monitoring skin protection attitudes and behaviors, as well as evaluation of SunSmart programs and media campaigns (Cancer Council Victoria 2010 p. 17).

This paper will look into the marketing research intended to be carried out on the SunSmart iPhone application and try to answer some of the questions the research poses. It will critically evaluate the questionnaire for the research focusing on the appropriateness of the length layout and screening and skip questions.

It will look at the need for pretesting and the importance of pre testing the questionnaire and will finally look at how the research project being proposed can be changed into a longitudinal study and the advantages of changing it.


Critically evaluate the questionnaire developed for the research. Specifically focus on the appropriateness of the length layout and screening and skip questions

A questionnaire is one of the instruments employed by researchers in collecting information or data. It consists of a series of questions that are designed to collect useful information relevant to the research. The use of questionnaires is advantageous to a researcher over other methods because it is cheap and its structure allows the researcher to use standardized questions that make it easy to collect information.

The use of standardized questions may, however, become a frustrating point to a respondent. The questionnaire is sharply limited by the respondents’ ability to read and understand the questions being asked so that they can give a solid response. This makes it unusable among certain demographic groups (Bolton & Bronkhorst 1996).

The type of questionnaire used in the market research for the SunSmart Company is a personal questionnaire that tries to gather information about the SunSmart iPhone application. A questionnaire should have a length that is well balanced and contain enough questions so that it helps in making the survey relevant.

The researcher should also avoid having the questionnaire contain many questions that would cause a high incompletion rate among respondents. The questionnaire that is used in this case is long and contains many questions. This would make it time consuming for the respondent and there would be a high incompletion rate (Bolton 1991).

The questionnaire is well detailed and is designed to gather enough information necessary for the completion of the research. The screening questions used in the questionnaire are well structured, and try to get relevant information about the usage of the application and its effect on the users’ life, experience as well as other important aspects about the application.

The questionnaire tries to gather much personal information about an individual and this would run the risk of making respondents skip some questions. Questions about a person’s age, earnings, and physical address are sensitive and many respondents would be unwilling to share this information (Converse & Presser 1986).

Should the questionnaire be pretested? What are some of the issues involved in pre-testing instruments? Recommend a process for pre-testing this questionnaire

When designing a perfect survey questionnaire, it is of paramount importance that researchers carry out pre-testing. Pre-testing helps the researcher to gauge the effectiveness of the survey questionnaire before using it to seek information.

Pre-testing also helps the researcher to determine the strong points of the questionnaire and its weaknesses concerning question format, order and finally the question wording. It is, therefore, important that the questionnaire being used to gather information on the SunSmart application be pre-tested (Czaja & Blair 1996).

There are two main methods employed while conducting a pre-test. They include participating and undeclared. The participating pre-test requires you inform the respondent that the pretest is only for practice instead of having the respondent actually filling the questionnaire.

This kind of pretest usually involves having an interview where the respondents are asked to give their views on how they would react to the questions form, order, and its wording. This helps the researcher to determine whether the questions are understandable and if not what are the various amendments that can be made to make it more understandable.

While undertaking an undeclared pretest, the respondents are usually unaware that it is a pretest. The survey is administered just it would be in real survey. This method helps the researcher to check on their choice of analysis and how standardized the survey being carried out is (DeMaio & Rothgeb 1996).

In their journal 1986, Converse and Presser say that if the researchers have adequate resources then it is important to carry out more than one pretest starting with the participating pre-test followed by the undeclared pre-testing.

I would recommend that the research use the participating pre-test so that they can determine the reliability and validity of the survey questions they intend to administer to respondents (Esposito, Campanelli, Rothgeb & Polivka 1991 p. 98).

“The JRA has suggested that the data collection method for the questionnaire should be a link to the survey via the home screen of the SunSmart iPhone application.”

What kind of sampling is being proposed here? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?

The sampling method that is being proposed to ensure that the data collection method for the questionnaire is a link to the survey via the home screen of the SunSmart iPhone application is random sampling. This is true because anyone can take the survey by just visiting the website.

In this sampling method, respondents are chosen using some kind of probability means and the likelihood with which every participant of the frame populace could be chosen is known. In this method, the sampling prospects do not necessarily be the same for each and every correspondent.

Many times the population is specific in a sampling frame that the potential or desired respondents are randomly selected based on the probabilities laid down by the researchers. There are several advantages and disadvantages of using random sampling. One of the advantages of using random sampling is that when all the respondents have given their responses then the response given can be taken to be highly representative.

The other advantage of using random sampling is that it is easy to make sure that all the relevant groups to the research have been sampled. The random sampling method is also advantageous in that a probability sample can be established or be made at stages throughout the research.

This is also an inexpensive way of conducting a survey since one does not have to send people in to the field to go and actually carry out the survey. An individual visiting the SunSmart website could easily participate in the survey by answering the various questions in the questionnaire.

The major disadvantages of using this kind of sampling method include the fact that the process is at times uneconomical and getting responses may take too long. It is also very expensive to establish the roles of the respondents as well as time consuming. Using this kind of sampling process can also tend to be useless when carrying out a survey on a small number of respondents.

Using examples from the questionnaire describe two statistical tests that are appropriate for each of the four levels of scale measurement.

The four levels of measurement used in the questionnaire include nominal, ordinal, interval, and Ratio. The nominal level of scale measurement involves consigning numeric numbers such as 0, 1, 2. Ordinal level of measurement designates something concerning the rank ordering of the research partakers. The statistical test used for the ordinal level of measurement is Analysis of variance (ANOVA).

The interval level offers quantitative information. When we have the variable measured on the interval scale the units on the scale is the same on all the levels of that scale. The final type of these scales is the ratio scale that has a fixed zero point. The numbers on this scale not only have units on the scale that are equal on all levels of the scale, but also has a meaningful zero point that is used in the interpretation of ratios of comparison.

An example of a ratio scale used in the questionnaire is time. One of the chief reasons of categorizing variables depending on their level of measurement is to ease the option of a statistical test in analyzing the data (Lessler & Forsyth 1996 p. 58).

Statistical tests that are appropriate for nominal level of scale measurement are by calculating a statistic such as a % (percentage and chi-square test. The ratio and interval level of measurement apply statistical tests such as Pearson Correlation coefficient (Czaja & Blair 1996).

Make recommendations on what research methods could be used

The research method that will be used in this survey is qualitative research. Qualitative research is one of the most employed methods used in market research and it aims at gathering an in depth knowledge of the human behavior and the driving forces that affect their behavior.

This type of research method tries to investigate factors of decision making that dwell on the why and how. It goes beyond finding answers to the what, where and when. Mostly it focuses on smaller but detailed samples rather than on a large sample. This research method often produces information about a particular case being studied and any other conclusion is taken as a proposition (Presser & Blair 1994 p. 69).

When undertaking this research on the SunSmart iPhone application this is the best method because it will give the researchers on the insights of why people choose the application or ignore it all together as well as the major changes the application may require to undergo. It will also address the question of how the users apply the application in their everyday life and how they can expand on the number of users.

Qualitative researchers have the option of using an array of methods in collecting their data; they include grounded theory practice, classical ethnography, or shadowing.

In our case, the best method would be grounded theory practice, which is an inductive research type that is based on observation or data that is developed. This type of research method uses a range of data sources that may include data gotten from quantitative research, review of records, observation or even from surveys (Fowler 1993 p. 123).

The coding used in this research method interpretive technique, which allows the research to organize the data as well as interpret, it into a quantitative method. The coding in this requires the researcher or analyst to obtain n the data as well as demarcate the various sections within it. Every segment is given a code that is usually a short phrase, which explains how the segments relate with the research objectives.

After the coding is done, the researcher will prepare a report through summarization of the prevalence of the codes in the various occurrences of the code followed by comparison of how the codes relate to each other. The central issue when carrying out a qualitative research is validity, which can be established through a number of ways.

This may be done through interviewer corroboration, peer debriefing, negative case analysis, auditing ability, confirmation ability, bracketing, and balance. These methods were first described by Lincoln and Guba in their 1985 journal, which tried to explain the various research methods (Schwarz & Sudman).

Develop an instrument to be used for data collection

In this research, the researcher is the primary data collection instrument. This method of research, qualitative research, involves the data gathered through various methods from respondents. They include interviews, questionnaires, observation, as well as focus groups. Data can be described as a raw material that is used in formulating an evaluation (Krueger 1994).

The evaluation data are methodically collected information that are relevant to the program that will be tested to see if the program has achieved its objectives. The data collection instrument may give you qualitative data or quantitative data depending on how the instrument is used.

Data collection is a myriad of activities that revolves around administering instruments and getting as well as organizing responses and measures that will be used for analysis. A data collection that is well planned has to be reliable, consistent and help in obtaining useful information regarding to the impact of the program. In this research to develop a good data collection instrument, the researcher should follow several things.

The first thing the researcher should do is identify the data type as well as the data sources. This involves making an inventory of the data types that the researcher will want to collect and from whom they will be getting the information (Schwarz & Sudman p. 89).

The next step involves identifying who the research is going to concentrate on. It is always essential to involve the stakeholders and all the persons who will be involved in the collection of the data while developing a data collection instrument. This is important because it helps to eliminate or minimize issues that may hinder or delay data collection.

If it is important to request for permission for data collection then this should be sought way before the data collection has began.. The other important thing in data collection is making sure that the data entered is legible and that there is no missing data entry.

If a computer program is to be used then there should be consideration for programming to flag missing entries. The questionnaire should be designed such that it is easy to record data in it because a poorly designed questionnaire may lead to errors during recording (Fowler 1993).

Discuss how this proposed research project could be turned into a longitudinal research project. Why would a longitudinal project be beneficial to SunSmart in the continued evaluation of the iPhone application? How would such a longitudinal research be designed?

A longitudinal research is a relationship research that involves observing a variable for a long period usually at intervals that are set from the start of the research. The research is usually used in psychology and tries to learn the development trends of a being during its life span. In sociology, the longitudinal research is used to study the life events of generations (Bovaird & Little 2007 p. 243).

Unlike other cross sectional studies, this research or study tracks the same people or events and therefore, the researcher can make conclusive assumptions about the development or change of events. (Schwarz & Sudman n.d) There are several types of longitudinal studies or research project. This includes cohort study, which can be used to change this research project into a longitudinal research project.

A cohort study is one of the forms of longitudinal studies that analyzes risk factors and traces the activities or happenings in a group of persons who have a related factor. In this case, it would help in tracing the usage of the application and its help to the people who actively use the application (Presser & Blair 1994).

Monitoring the skin protection attitudes and behaviors is the main reason for most of the clients wanting to take the research. This is important and the advantage of using this kind of longitudinal study is that it has a high validity because it documents the various changes that the program is going to make in the lives of users.

The other advantage is that the data collected can help the company in making important changes to the application as well as make other important changes such as financing and this is a definite boost.

The longitudinal research project should be designed such that three wave research studies are carried out every year. The project should be carried out such that it captures many of the changing trends in the users life so that it can be used in making critical decisions about the upgrades and distribution of the application (Bovaird & Little 2007).


Bolton, R. N., & Bronkhorst, T. M. (1996). Questionnaire pretesting: computer-assisted coding of concurrent protocols. California: Sage.

Bolton, R. N. (1991). An exploratory investigation of questionnaire pretesting with verbal protocol analysis. Advances in Consumer Research, 28, 558-565.

Bovaird, S., & Little, D. (2007). Modeling contextual effects in longitudinal studies. New York Routledge.

Cancer Council Victoria. (2010). SunSmart: protecting workers from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. Victoria: Victoria Publishers.

Converse, J. M., & Presser, S. (1986). Survey Questions: Handcrafting the Standardized Questionnaire. California: Sage.

Czaja, R., & Blair, J. (1996). Designing Surveys: A guide to Decisions and Procedures. California: Pine Forge.

DeMaio, T. J., & Rothgeb, J. M. (1996). Cognitive interviewing techniques: in the lab and in the field. California: Pine Forge.

Esposito, J. L. Campanelli, P.C. Rothgeb, J., & Polivka, A. E. (1991). Determining Which Questions are Best: Methodologies for Evaluating Survey Questions. In Proceedings of the American Statistical Association. Survey Research Methods Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association.

Fowler, Jr. F. J. (1993). Survey Research Methods (Second Edition). California: Sage.

Krueger, R. A. (1994). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research (Second Edition). California: Sage.

Lessler, J. T., & Forsyth, B. H. (1996). A coding system for appraising questionnaires. In Schwarz N & Sudman S (eds). Answering Questions: Methodology for Determining Cognitive and Communicative Processes in Survey Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Presser, S., & Blair, J. (1994). Survey pretesting: do different methods produce different results? In Marsden PV et al. (eds.). Sociological Methodology Volume 24. Cambridge, MA: The American Sociological Association.

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