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Using Focus Groups to Develop and Test Questionnaire Items for a Corruption Mass Survey: a Roadmap

Corruption
Mixed Methods
Public Opinion
Felippe Clemente
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Felippe Clemente
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Luis de Sousa
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Gustavo Gouvêa Maciel
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Isabel Pinto
Universidade do Porto

Abstract

In this article, we describe the development and implementation of focus groups with university students and seniors to help devising new and test used questionnaire items that assess people’s perceptions about corruption. These focus groups were implemented under the auspices of a research project (EPOCA) that tries to understand under what conditions citizens connect concerns about corruption (process-oriented factor) to austerity (outcome-oriented factor) in their evaluations of the nature of the political regime, the performance of its institutions and the actions and policies of sitting executives. The project uses a mixed methods approach through the collection, treatment and analysis of data provided by quantitative-oriented (i.e. mass survey and lab experimental study) and qualitative-oriented (i.e. questionnaire-testing focus groups) research tools, in order to improve internal and external validation of the findings. By combining qualitative and quantitative methods we seek to provide a more comprehensive understanding of people’s attitudes, perceptions and experiences of corruption in democratic societies.