Monday, April 10, 2006

How not to write a survey question

Jeez. I took a survey this morning sent out by a communications professional organization I'm a member of, and boy, do they not know how to write survey questions. They had a series of statements to which we were supposed to "disagree" or "agree" with, but then they phrased questions like this: "Membership in the organization is not important to my professional development." This forces you to unroll the resultant double-negative, which means that some percentage of the people taking the form will end up negating their answers (although this group is a pretty bright bunch, you still have people who don't want to spend more than a minute or two and are only skimming answers). You'd think a professional communications organization would know better than to piss off the person taking the survey form by unnecessarily adding to the work it takes to answer their questions accurately. I came this close to not even finishing the survey...

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