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October 23,2013-3N06 Lecture Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Political Science
Todd Alway

October 23, 2013 Political Science 3N06 Political Science 3N06 2012 Lecture 6d Surveys - Male/Female C LOSE ENDED QUESTIONS : - When wording survey questions, be aware of the following pitfalls: - 7) Ability to answer - Questions that are beyond a respondent‟s ability to accurately respond are not good questions - Have to think about whether or not the audience that is being surveyed has the knowledge they‟re being asked about. - EXAMPLE. o What is your opinion of bill C22? (What is bill C22????) o Can‟t assume that survey respondents know anything about this whatsoever. - 8) False premises - Questions containing a premise that respondents might not agree with - Answering the question requires accepting a statement that may not be true for the respondent - Questions might assume something that is not true. o “At what point in your life where you most prejudiced against ethnic minorities” – assumes that at some point in your life you‟d been prejudice? Assuming something about a respondent, which may not be true. o Because of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, should we strengthen sanctions against Iran? o Who did you vote for in the last election? - 9) Distant future intentions - What are your intentions (voting, personal, etc) 10 years from now? - Answers to these types of questions are usually not reliable predictors of behaviour - It‟s not a good idea your sample, questions about distant future or intentions. It‟s not a good to ask these questions if will be using this data to predict things. o If behaviour ask about recent behaviour. - 10) Negatives (particularly double negatives) can be a problem o “Do you agree or disagree that Political Science students should not be required to take 3N06 to graduate?”  Double negative; the problem is when you insert negatives inside of any question, it can skew results.  Do you think the United States should forbid public speeches against democracy?  Do you think the US shouldn‟t allow public speeches against democracy? - 11) Answer choices should be balanced - Very Strongly Agree, Strongly Agree, Agree, No opinion - What about Disagree, Strongly Disagree, Very Strongly Disagree? - 12) Answer choices should not overlap 1 October 23, 2013 Political Science 3N06 Categories should be mutually exclusive and exhausted. C) The Survey as an organic whole (question order effects) - Think about the survey, as an organic „whole‟ Need to think about the impact that all of these questions have. o CONTEXT VS. ORDER EFFECT. o While you are
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