Thursday, August 20, 2009

In survey research, wording is crucial

Apparently when the word "choice" is included in questions regarding the possibility of a public health insurance option, we get much different results than when such wording is not included (we're talking in the range of 77% in favor versus only 43% in favor). When I've discussed survey research in methodology courses that I have taught, I usually make it very clear that the results of surveys are only as good as the wording of the questions and the sampling. Any bias that shows up in either will make the validity of your survey's results questionable, at best. Given the individualist mindset that defines Euro-American culture, I would say that any health care question that does not include the term "choice" in its wording will fail to measure the extent of public support for the "public option" being proposed in this year's health care reform legislation.

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