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Monday, December 13, 2004

What's wrong with this survey question?

This is a purely diversionary entry: I just completed on online survey for a magazine I read regularly, and found myself stumped by the illogic of the following question:

    3. Do you purchase products and services online?

  • If yes, how often?
  • Less than once a week
  • At least once a week
  • At least twice a month
  • More than 3 times a month
  • More than 5 times a month
  • No, I do not purchase products and services online

The survey allowed the respondent to select one and only one of these answers. Here's a brainteaser for you: How many possible answers are excluded by the answers the survey makers included? (Since I buy something on-line once a month or less, I felt constrained to select "Less than once a week" — but that felt unsatisfying.) How should the question and answers have been phrased?

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 13 December 2004 at 5:35 PM

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December 13, 2004 07:54 PM | Permalink for this comment

You may have hit on a new party game...coming up with diabolical survey questions! One problem is "at least once a week" because that question could be answered by "More than 3 times a month."

Is this better?

* Less than once a month
* At least once a month
* Two or three times a month
* Weekly
* More than once a week

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