Confusing Survey Questions
December 3, 2013
Pose a simple question in a survey or questionnaire and you could get a multitude of confusing answers.
I’ve been working with Nikki for a while now and she recently asked me to advise her on finding someone to undertake a survey for her. That led to a discussion on the problems that can ensue if you get it wrong.
Let’s take a simple question that we can all relate to. Looking at the image on this page what colour is the house depicted?
Now to be fair this picture was taken in late evening so the image is not perfect .. but then many surveys also start with a “blurred” image. An unclear idea of what they are gtrying to determine or even why.
Back to the colour of our house. The options given might be black, white, cream, off white and grey. The problem then is that not everyone sees colour the same and my cream might be what you’d call off white. Worse still, if I’m colour blind I have only black or white to choose from but will see it as a shade of grey. Of course the real answer is that we can only see one side of the house so can only answer the question “What colour is the side of the house that you can see?”
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