Module 2, Unit 2: QUESTIONNAIRES AND QUESTIONING TO MATCH JOBS IN INDUSTRIES TO TRAITS AND PREFERENCES

by Unre Visagie

Key questions

  • How do you ask critical questions that will help the exploration and discovery process?
  • What are the differences between open and closed questions and their different applications?
  • How do you find and connect with your nearest industries?
  • How do you construct and use questionnaires to gather relevant data?
  • How do you match the traits and preferences from Module 1 to studies of industries and jobs?

2.1 INTRODUCTION

Guiding the career seeker to match the information, which he or she has explored and discovered in Module 1 to a suitable job in an industry (which requires workers), is the career guide’s challenge. How does the career guidance practitioner (this is you!) set about doing this?

Career seekers need information about industries, work and gaps in work skills. Career seekers also need an executable plan whereby they can get the necessary access, learn the required skills and eventually thrive in the industry and work of their choice.  Critical questionnaires and questions will assist to challenge various possibilities and at the same time expand their choices.  Critical questioning and the selection of questionnaires can also help the career seeker make informed choices during the exploration and discovery process.

The questions and questioning should challenge and expose the career seeker to various industries and types of work. This will enable him or her to choose between possible jobs within almost any industry.  The questions and questionnaires acquaint the career seeker with the industry words, key phrases and concepts on the Internet. Knowing the words and concepts about the industry or industry jargon makes the next step possible. The career seekers can map out their goals and meet with the relevant people in the chosen industry, while paving the road to their desired careers.

2.2 CASE STUDY

Let us revisit our career seeker, a person with much potential and talent, who does not know much about soccer but wants to participate in it. (PCAR01V, Unit 3)

Not everyone is made to be a professional soccer player. There are, however, aspects relating to the game that may suit a wide variety of talents and can open the doors to many careers. It is with this in mind that you as career guide have to engage your client. The person is interested in sports, soccer in particular. It is possible to find suitable careers around that main interest that matches the person’s other interests, aptitudes and abilities in a clear and practical way. A questionnaire is a useful way to engage with a client.

2.3 TYPES OF QUESTIONS AND QUESTIONNAIRES

A questionnaire consists of a series of questions compiled by researchers the world over. In this course, you are the guide who should assist the career seeker to complete the questionnaires you have chosen on behalf of the career seeker or client. So you need to help your clients identify information regarding their aptitudes, interests, personalities and values. Once this has been done, you will have to help them find information regarding possible careers. The questionnaires must be carefully selected and critical questions must be derived from the structured results that you explored and discovered during PCAR01V.

There are two main types of questions in questionnaires: Open (unstructured) questions and closed (structured) questions.

Module 2, Unit 2, Activity 1

  1. Study open and closed questions, keeping in mind that you will assist and establish matches to a specific Industry with the career seeker’s traits and preferences.
  2. Discuss your findings with your colleagues who are studying with you.
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search extensively to learn more about the subject. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask your clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  4. Answer these questions:
  • Where and how do you use open and closed questions? Write down two specific points.
  • Use open and closed questions at home to establish a family member’s interests.  Share one example.
  • Explore questioning more widely.

Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Module 2, Unit 2, Activity 2

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareerBook gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Act as the candidate and match one item from your areas of personality, interest, talent and aptitude with your study area, industry, and work choice.  Ask your facilitator to use open and closed questions to assist you with this process.
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search to explore and discover matching areas. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions for your clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  4. Write down an open and closed question challenging and verifying the match for each area.
  5. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Module 2, Unit 2, Activity 3

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareerBook gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the Facilitator and guide the candidate to use open and closed questions to match one item from the areas of personality, interest, talent and aptitude with his/her area of study, industry and work choice.  Discover more about being a facilitator.
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search to explore and discover matching areas.
  4. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask your clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  5. Write down how you facilitated in the formulation of an open and a closed question to challenge and verify the match for each area.
  6. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Module 2, Unit 2, Activity 4

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareerBook gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the Observer while the facilitator guides the candidate to use open and closed questions to match one item from the areas of personality, interest, talent and aptitude with his/her area of study, industry and work choice.  Discover more about being an Observer.
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search to explore and discover matching areas.
  4. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask your clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  5. Write down how you observed and gave feedback during the formation and answering of the open and closed questions, challenging and verifying the match for each area.
  6. Record your experiences while completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Although there are endless variations of the exploration processes, we leave the rest for you to discover in a similar way using the Internet and with local experts.

We recommend you learn about questionnaires and their construction to be able to choose and use them with greater effect. As an example, we chose the Likert scale as type of questionnaire.  In this questionnaire, two opposites are stated and the respondent has to position him or her self on a continuum, which links the two opposites. In this manner, a visual profile then represents the respondent’s personal opinion regarding the topic.

Module 2, Unit 2, Activity 5

  1. Study the Likert scale and its uses during the exploration and discovery process that you do with your clients.  You may find many new words and concepts.
  2. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search extensively. Remember you are exploring and discovering! You grow even more when you discuss uses, concepts and words with experts near you.
  3. Answer these questions:
  • Where is the Likert scale used? Write down two specific points.
  • How can the Likert scale be applied to ensure the career seeker’s traits and preferences are matched with the studies, industry and work which they do?
  • Name two other scales you can use and state why you chose them. Find two study and career verification questionnaires that use the Likert scale. Why did you choose them?

Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Gaining an understanding of the types of questions and where they are used will provide you with a framework from which to work when choosing questionnaires. Being aware of other scales will help you  to choose the best one for your specific purpose. Being knowledgeable about these tools will make your job a lot easier and your service much more effective and reliable. It is important to work from established examples to prevent yourself from ‘re-inventing the wheel’ for questionnaires.

2.4 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF     QUESTIONNAIRES

We include a brief study of questionnaires, their purpose and their construction should you require them in your career guidance quest. The course modules include many web-based questionnaires for you to use and you should be able to find for most purposes. A good knowledge of questionnaires will help you choose and use them.

Advantages include the following:

  • It is a relatively ‘quick’ way to help people explore and discover new things about them and gather information since any number of people can complete them simultaneously and exchange and discuss the information.
  • If the chosen questionnaires are carefully compiled, or chosen from the web and along with other local sources, you can ask someone else to administer the exploration and discovery questionnaire on your behalf.  This is not possible with, for example, an interview or observation.
  • It is generally regarded as a reliable instrument for the career seeker to gather information, gain insight and quickly expand awareness of self and industries.
  • A questionnaire puts less pressure on respondents because they can complete it in their own time.
  • Questionnaires can help to focus the attention of the respondents on the main issues involved.
  • If the responses are structured, it is relatively easy to interpret the results.
  • It is repeatable and includes knowledge and experiences from many people worldwide. You become part of worldwide fraternities and by doing so, expand your networks.

Disadvantages include:

  • It takes a lot of time to construct a good questionnaire. Learn from the questionnaires you used and attempt to construct your own brief (five questions) localized exploration and discovery questionnaire. This will be good practice for future implementation of questionnaires. Refer to 2.5 for further assistance. Check the questionnaire with people in your community. Use the processes from Tutorial Letter PCAR01V/102/2008 and Tutorial Letter PCAR01V/103/2008 when you approach them.
  • If questions are incorrectly understood, nothing can be done about it.  However, in interviews misunderstandings can usually be cleared up.
  • It is difficult to determine whether respondents answered honestly.
  • You cannot ask secondary questions to probe the career seeker’s responses.  When you are interviewing someone, you are able to check your understanding, clarify meaning, and confirm the accuracy of your information.
  • Questionnaires can only be used interactively with people, who are illiterate, have low vocabularies and who are low on industry exposure.

2.5 COMPILING A QUESTIONNAIRE

Read about how a questionnaire should be constructed.

You should keep in mind a few guidelines when constructing or assessing a questionnaire:

  • Keep questions or instructions relevant to the career seeker and the issue under research.
  • Keep questions or instructions clear and simple.
  • Sequence questions or instructions in a logical way.
  • The format is clear (e.g. how and where to fill in required information).
  • The nature of questions/instructions shows sensitivity to issues of race, class, religion and gender.
  • Questionnaires are administered in a proper and ethical manner.

2.6 SUMMARY

In this study unit, we discussed questioning and questionnaires as methods to determine knowledge of the interest, aptitude, personality and values of students.  We discussed the two main types of questions, namely open and closed questions.  We also addressed the issue around choosing a valid and an effective questionnaire.  The advantages and the disadvantages of questionnaires were highlighted. During the use of questions and questionnaires, the career seeker gains new insights and information.  As observation yields valuable information, it is often used in conjunction with other evaluation media.

About Unre Visagie
I am a master coach with 30 years of career and business coaching experience. I have built and sold many of my own multi-million dollar companies. I have always built my companies based on the principle of successful people make a successful company. I invest in people. As your coach you get 30 years of experience to help you do the work you love and earn the salary you want.

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