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Tibor, 

I agree. The survey was particularly bad.  Going from memory, I also seem to remember that the next set of questions then was skewed toward a rapier-only peerage.

I'm always hoping for a lack of purposeful nastiness. What's that law about malice vs. stupidity (Elasait, I associate it with you for some reason?). You have to work really HARD to have a semblance of balance in a survey, and even then, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. Once you're looking for answers to a certain question, you're already biased. What you call the survey can bias your audience, etc.

My favorite anecdote about surveys -- surveying cover images for a magazine. We were trying not to bias our "readers" (aka, people who had opted in on the web to take our surveys) toward an image based on the headlines (e.g., "Those are goats, but the headline says carrots, so I chose the carrot cover"). We tried putting gibberish in the headlines and included a line in each question that specified that we were using gibberish. The responses? "Speak English! This is America!" :)

I've learned a lot about surveys since then. :)

Maerwynn

On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM, Mark Schuldenfrei <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
On 12/8/2014 3:39 PM, Maerwynn of Holme wrote:
As someone who has written test banks and surveys -- that survey was
horrible and biased. However, it is nearly impossible to write a survey
that is balanced and without bias of some kind.

But this one was pretty serious.

For example - the reports state the question was: "45 - Should SCA participants be able to receive a peerage for excellence in non-armored combat or other martial activities"?

But the actual question was this:

  "The SCA currently has peerages for excellence in armored combat
  (Chivalry), arts and sciences (Laurel), and service (Pelican),
  as well as for activities as royals (Rose, royal peerage). Should
  SCA participants be able to receive a peerage for excellence
  in non armored combat or other martial activities (for example,
  fencing, archery and the like)?

  (If you answer 'Yes', you will be asked additional information
  about your opinion)"

Note the less-than-passive introductory text, which makes it sound as
if this is a matter of fairness.

Note the promise of an opportunity to provide additional input if you
answer "Yes".

The people that clicked yes were all reported as favoring a new
Peerage, even if they didn't actually do so.

        Tibor


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--
Maerwynn of Holme
Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir
[log in to unmask]
En mí todo ese fuego se repite,
en mí nada se apaga ni se olvida... -- Neruda
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