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Survey tip 6: Avoid questions which target information to which many respondents probably don't have access!

As with the first rule, the implementation of rule 6 is also largely dependent on the target group you want to question. Answering the question...

"Have there been measures in your community with regard to implementing the Local Government Act 2000?"

should (hopefully!) not be a problem for local politicians, but for the "average person" it is barely possible to answer it, not only because of the term "Local Government Act 2000" but also because they will not have had to deal with this question until now. They will probably not have the information at their disposal which is necessary to answer the question (what is the Local Government Act 2000? how does it affect the community?) The problem is intensified for general knowledge questions. The question...

"Can you name the leader of Liverpool City Council?"

would not be answered correctly by everyone in Liverpool. The answer is (as of: April 2009) "Warren Bradley" and a country-wide survey would reveal even less correct answers. So, for questions which involve facts or knowledge you should always bear in mind the extent to which the target group would have access to the information in order to be able to answer the question sufficiently. If there is any doubt it is better to leave the question out, unless the actual point of the question is to establish knowledge or lack of knowledge.
Ein Arbeitsbuch
Aus der Reihe 'Studienskripten zur Soziologie' im VS Verlag
4. erw. Aufl. 2014. 203 S.
Autor: Rolf Porst
ISBN: 978-3658021177
Preis: 14,99 Euro
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Last updated: 15.06.2024