Table of contents
1.1 Current situation
1.5 DISTRIBUTION OF THE WORKLOAD
2 THEORY ON PREPARING A QUESTIONNAIRE
3 DATA COLLECTION
3.1 Importance of speaking skills
3.2 Importance of writing skills
3.3 SATISFACTION OF CURRENT ENGLISH SKILLS
3.4 Preferred English level of employees
3.5 SHOULD ENGLISH BE TAUGHT EARLIER IN SCHOOL?
4.1 SPEAKING & WRITING SKILLS
4.2 Satisfaction & preferred level
4.3 ENGLISH EARLIER IN SCHOOL?
1.1 Current situation
In these days, English is taught pretty early, in the third grade to be exact. However, this refers only to the north-eastern part of Switzerland. In the French part of Switzerland, as well as in the area around Bern, English is taught at the latest from the fifth grade. In Ticino the world-language starts in the eighth grade. (Schweizerische Konferenz der kantonalen Erziehungsdirektion, 2013)
Due to globalisation, the English language is getting more and more important. A vast number of companies already call for employees who have at least basic knowledge in the English language. Some branches of the industry require higher skills than others, but maybe in the future, everybody has to master English to be able to do his / her job. Nevertheless, many elderly employees haven’t had such a good English education as it is taught in school nowadays, except they took private English lessons. Considering only language skills, the younger generation has a huge advantage as they can show advanced English skills.
Our goal is to determine, whether Switzerland’s industry thinks English should be a bigger deal in school, to be more precise, if the teaching of English should start even earlier than today. Also we want to know, if the companies are satisfied with the current English skills of their employees.
We send an online questionnaire to a variety of companies from different branches, asking how important the English language in their business is, how important it might become, if English should be taught in schools earlier and if they are satisfied with the English skills of their employees. After a given amount of time, we analyse the answers of the companies and arrange them in a diagram, so we can see how the importance of English changes.
In the future, English will be indispensable in all Swiss companies.
1.5 Distribution of the workload
While Christof prepares our questionnaire and Julian makes a list of companies we could send it to, Dominic and Florian prepare the writing part and evaluate the answers, after the companies answered the survey. The final writing part of the paper will be distributed to all members of the group.
2 THEORY ON PREPARING A QUESTIONNAIRE
A questionnaire, or also called a survey, is an efficient way to gather data from a specific group of people. It is useful for research purposes, so a questionnaire should be designed and prepared properly. The following six steps show how to create a survey the right way:
1) For the beginning, the goal and the objectives of the questionnaire should be known. It is useless to create a survey without knowing what kind of data one wants to collect.
2) After the objectives, the type of questions should be determined. Basically there are two types of questions:
a) Fixed response / structured: This type of question can shortly be described with multiple choice questions. A set of answers is provided and the respondents choose the one that fits their opinion the best. It is the easier way to categorize the data, because there are no personal answers of the respondents.
b) Open-ended / non-structured: With this type of questions new and individual ideas can be collected. However, it is harder to categorize and analyse the data, because no answer is the same as the next one.
3) The next step is to make sure the questions are phrased effectively. There are four bullet points to keep in mind in this step:
a) Comprehension: Sentences and questions should be kept short and concise. Also the respondents should be given all the information they need so they don’t have a lack of facts before giving an answer.
b) Answerability: It should be possible for the respondents to answer the questions without doing research.
c) Double-barrelled questions: Two questions should not be combined, it is better to write separate ones.
d) Response options should not overlap. Especially in multiple choice questions two answers should not cover the same area of numbers (for example).
4) If the questions come together from different topics, they should be grouped into subjects. If there are any sensitive questions, they can be grouped with neutral questions towards the end of the questionnaire. This way the questions can be played down.
5) In this case the survey is written and published online, so step five is already taken care of. But if it is done manually, the questionnaire should be designed so it is easy to read and to navigate through. The following points are the basics to do so:
a) A large, clear font should be used.
b) The questions should be spaced, so it is clear where one question ends and the next begins. Also if non-structured questions are used, there should be adequate space to write the answer.
c) The answers should be right below the question. Writing all the questions on one page and all the answers on another, forces the respondent to switch between them to provide an answer.
d) To prevent a mix-up, it is advisable to use page numbers.
6) To get the best result and to make sure there is no confusion, the respondents should be given all the information they need about the survey. The respondents should be prepared in the following ways:
a) People are more motivated to answer questions accurately, if they know the reason behind them. So the purpose of the survey should be explained.
b) Clear instructions how to complete the questions can be helpful. For complex questions it is a good idea to provide an example for how to appropriately answer the question. Also the survey should be read all through before answering the questions and if the answer to a question is unknown it is better to guess than to let it blank (this mainly applies for multiple choice questions).