Question Wording Skews Answers

Everyone knows that question wording skews answers.  Absolutely everyone!  Edward Snowden knows.  When discussing (in Wired magazine, 9/14, p. 9) whether or not public opinion has shifted in favor of curtailing mass surveillance, he says: `”It depends a lot on the polling question'”.

Gore Vidal knows: “it’s how the question is asked that determines the response” (Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, p. 59).

Answers are driven by questions, so when you want to find out what’s really going on, don’t ask.  Instead, observe, experiment, and so on; all of which is discussed in my book, The Problem with Survey Research.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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2 Responses to Question Wording Skews Answers

  1. Pingback: Question Wording Makes Answers Unreliable | George Beam's Blog

  2. Pingback: Question Wording, Change in Wording, and Rosa’s Law | George Beam's Blog

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