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Obligatory questionaire options

So you can say it like you mean it
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Generally, questionaires are no more than a minor blight on modern life. Those that can't be immediately consigned to the dustbin can usually be completed randomly on the click through to somewhere more interesting. It is amusing, but largely inconsequential that parts of our lives may be determined by the haphazard, hypothetical and antithetical opinions of multiple Mickey Mice and Williams Gates.

Whichwhile, it occasionally happens that we are confronted with questionaires in which the outcome matters to us, or which we are unfortunately obliged to complete. And this is most often a hugely frustrating experience. The factual questions are usually straightforward, beyond the temptation to lie. Gender, age bracket, salary and so on. However, these are usually followed by a barrage of ridiculously general statements upon which we are requested to supply opinions.

I would like to propose a "best practice" protocol for questionaires, where some letters (say M-Z) are reserved for commentary on unanswered questions - e.g.

M) I strongly disagree with the question. It is stated in such general terms that I can't in all conscience provide an answer.

N) You have asked an important question. Unfortunately, you have neglected to provide the important answers.

...

s) I think I can see what you're getting at, but your incompetant survey design leads me to wonder about your ability to implement practical outcomes.

T) What on Earth are you on about?

...

Y) I give up. What a pack of todgers. (No further questions answered)

Z) May your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down.

goldilox, Apr 22 2005

the help file http://www.halfbake...editorial/help.html
Please read it. [ato_de, Apr 23 2005]

[krelnik]'s FAQ http://krelnik.home...g.com/half_faq.html
Please read it too. [ato_de, Apr 23 2005]

[link]






       I'd like this more without the "obligatory" label.
bristolz, Apr 22 2005
  

       No! They must be obligatory - who in their right mind is going to put options n, t and y on when they're designing it? Picture the scene...
Q1. Do you enjoy numbing your brain and wasting the hours until death by filling in questionnaires on credit cards?
A. Yes.
B. Ooh, yes please!
C. I'm so excited by the mere thought that I just wet myself.
  

       Q2. Do you think whoever designed this questionnaire is the son of Satan and in league with all his little wizards?
A. Golly, no. Not at all.
(note: options M,N,S,T, and Y are also available.)
  

       Q3. I hate this job. You have no idea how miserable this is, trying to extract information from people with a reading age of 8 and the IQ of a retarded bogey. I feel like a parasite, sucking the life out of society. Just a little bit of affirmation from somebody would make me soo happy. I'm so miserable.
A. Have a hug.
B. There there, Mummy kiss it better.
C. I think I love you.
(note: as per our legal obligations, options N,T,S,etc. are always available).
moomintroll, Apr 22 2005
  

       If it's obligatory than this is a let's all idea, no?
bristolz, Apr 22 2005
  

       Let's all what?
goldilox, Apr 22 2005
  

       wonderful sentiment, unfortunately [marked-for-deletion] rant.
ato_de, Apr 22 2005
  

       Bloody hell, that's the second idea I've had to rescue from this site after a MFD. I'm starting to feel a bit like Mr S. Rushdie. What's wrong with you folks?
goldilox, Apr 22 2005
  

       I don't see that this is a rant, or a let's all, particularly. Questionnaires often don't have the particular sentiments you need to express - what particularly bugs me is the market research ones which ask you something like, "of the following words, which do you most closely associate with this product" - followed by a list of words which I would not associate with that product, frankly. The words I'm looking for might be complimentary, they might even be useful to the company involved - but I'm not given the option of providing useful information. So a standard "you've not given me the correct options" would be a boon - and far more useful to the marketers than if I just tick the least wrong answer.   

       I don't think the fact that it's obligatory means it's a let's all. It wouldn't be practical if it was voluntary, for a start. Designing questionnaires seems like a sufficiently niche occupation that a "let's all" label seems a bit strong to me.   

       And I'd dispute that this was a rant. [Gold] has discovered a problem, gone on about it (fairly briefly, I thought), and then proposed a solution. If this was a rant there wouldn't be a solution involved, would there?
moomintroll, Apr 22 2005
  

       Yes, I should have stated that more clearly.   

       It seems as a "let's all" to me because: You wish to have every opinion poll add these extra answer slots which, if you added on your own poll, wouldn't be an original idea, no matter how creatively worded the additional answers might be.   

       Also, since this is obligatory, it is not a "best practices" proposal but a mandatory practice. Proposals to make things mandatory tend to be viewed as advocacy.   

       Further, [moomintroll], you say that these polls don't have the answers you want to give yet you say you want to give answers that are useful. Useful to whom? You? Answering a poll with a response that is out of scope for the poll is not useful to the pollster.
bristolz, Apr 22 2005
  

       Answering a poll with honest information has got to be more use to a pollster than having to shoehorn my opinion into a box that is completely and utterly wrong.
Oh no, wait, silly me. I was confused. I thought for a minute there that the purpose of a poll was to gather correct information and gauge people's feelings on a subject. I remember now: it's to confirm what the pollsters thought already and give them an excuse to carry on and do whatever they wanted to in the first place. In which case, the need for a few legally-required boxes is even more important. Incidentally, have you noticed a trend in public referenda: if the answer is one the government doesn't like, they'll tweak the question and ask again? These new boxes could be all that stand between freedom and a police state, goldarn it!
  

       On the obligatory/best practice thing: I think this idea would work just as well if it was 'best practice' (see last paragraph). To my mind, though, that seems more like 'let's all'/advocacy than making it mandatory. Making it 'best practice' requires the consumer to be educated - is this questionnaire to ISO o58ty4r8? - sort of thing. I'm reminded of petrol - when my Grandad was driving around, you went to the Shell garage because, although it was more expensive, Shell petrol was genuinely better than the dodgy cheap stuff they sold at, say, Texaco. Now, thanks to legislation, I don't need to worry about that - I can get cheap petrol and know that it won't actively damage my car. If a questionnaire is unquestionably better with these responses (and I reckon it would be), then why should I muddle my pretty little head with questionnaire design standards information?   

       ... on the original idea point: not sure I understand. If a product is mass-produced, does that mean the millionth one is no longer an original idea? And if so, does that make the idea invalid? I think [gold]s idea of having these option added to every question in a questionnaire is great. If they're added to every questionnaire from now 'til the end of time, that doesn't alter the originality of the idea, does it? Have I missed the point?   

       They wouldn't need to be explicit - all you'd need to do is ignore the A,B,C, or D offered and scrawl 'T' over the top. I assume that there are interntational standards to which these things are drawn up - these implicit options could just be added on to the standard as valid responses, even if they are not explicitly stated. Then you just have a note at the top saying something like: " In accordance with ISo 23o49u23, the following options are accepted as valid answers to any question:" ...and just list them once.
moomintroll, Apr 22 2005
  

       Wouldn't it just be a lot easier to recast the idea as "Make a law that says that you can answer poll questions however you want to" or "Write-in answers only on polls" or, even, "Never again be faced with ambiguity when answering polls"?   

       I don't understand your millionth product comment. My point was that if I chose to add a write-in option on a multiple-choice poll I was creating it wouldn't be considered an original idea. Proposing that everyone do so is a "let's all" and enforcing it by law is advocacy.
bristolz, Apr 22 2005
  

       I don't think adding a write-in space was [goldilox]'s proposal. Giving people more options, I think, would give pollsters more accurate information and the respondents would feel happier knowing they had expressed their opinions better. It's a bit alarming when pollsters ask for your opinion in terms that show they really haven't got a clue what your opinion is likely to be. A simple 'woah, buddy, you are way wrong' tick box would be a blessing.   

       You're probably right on the enforcement thing. Since it's not my idea then it's a moot point, but one could argue (if one was feeling particularly bloody-minded) this idea is basically saying "let's improve the design of the questionnaire by adding the following:". Is that so very different from saying "Let's improve the design of a hair dryer by adding a bicycle dynamo and a hamster wheel full of seagulls"?
moomintroll, Apr 22 2005
  

       A more fair comparison would be: "Let's improve the design of a hair dryer by adding a high/low fan switch". Something that's certainly been done before.
Worldgineer, Apr 22 2005
  

       Are you saying it's baked, or that it's eminently sensible?
moomintroll, Apr 22 2005
  

       I understand that the halfbakery is a moderated site, and that moderation is necessary, to preserve the site's integrity and increase the signal to noise ratio. However, it seems to me that a fairly arbitrary "school prefect" mentality is operational, rather than a calm and deliberate assessment of which material would actually clog the halfbakery's arteries. Slam my ideas if you don't like them. Let the moderators assign a reeking whale carcass instead of fishbones. But, if I've obviously spent some time and thought presenting an idea, please don't delete it. What's the point otherwise?
goldilox, Apr 23 2005
  

       you're currently being treated very well. You notice that, while you have been m-f-d, no one has tossed fishbones at you. Don't get whiney on us and we will continue to be civil. Please read through the two links I have provided.
ato_de, Apr 23 2005
  

       I participate in Harris polls, and there is consistently a short post questionnaire with the following bubble sheet (as near as I remember).   

       A. I understood the questions.
B. I noticed mistakes.
C. I felt the poll was useful.
D. I am likely to participate in future polls.
  

       All those have about 6 response radio buttons with a range of feelings attached. Sorry no "I'm casting bones about your yard henceforth." or some silly thing you can garnish in your style. My observation from what I see is that either you haven't hooked up with a legitimate poll server, or you really want to be heard and should seek a blog with staggering band strength.
reensure, Apr 23 2005
  

       There's no attack on the quality of thought, [goldilox] but it does seem more a stand-up comedy routine, or an Andy Rooney diatribe, than an invention.   

       It resonates with readers, including me, because it is a familiar annoyance that people identify with.   

       In the strict sense it qualifies as mfd but there are many mfd ideas let stand due their quality and their ensuing thread.
bristolz, Apr 23 2005
  

       It makes you wonder why companies pay money to commission polls at all, what with the variability of the results from the vague questions.
What [moomintroll] said.
gnomethang, Apr 23 2005
  
      
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