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Eye-Movement Analysis: A New Tool for Evaluating the Design of Visually Administered Instruments (Paper and Web)

SM2001-02
Cleo D. Redline and Christopher P. Lankford
Component ID: #ti910167934

Introduction

A data collection instrument that a respondent self-completes through the visual channel, such as on paper or over the Web, is visually administered. Although insightful in many ways, traditional methods of evaluating questionnaires, such as cognitive interviewing, usability testing, and experimentation may be insufficient when it comes to evaluating the design of visually administered questionnaires because these methods cannot directly identify information respondents perceive or the precise order in which they observe the information (Redline et al 19 98).

In this paper, we present the results of a study that was conducted to explore whether eye-movement analysis might prove a promising new tool for evaluating the design of visually administered questionnaires. Eye tracking hardware and software, which were originally developed at the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory of the Systems Engineering Department of the University of Virginia for use with computer monitors, were adapted to track the eye movements of respondents answering three versions of a paper questionnaire. These versions were chosen for study because differences in the design of their branching instructions were hypothesized to affect eye-movements, which in turn may affect the accuracy of following the branching instructions (Redline and Dillman Forthcoming).

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