Designing Bias Free Questions

When creating a questionnaire, the researcher must give special thought to writing the specific questions. Researchers must avoid questions that would lead people to answer in a biased way or ones that might be easily misinterpreted. For example, the questions "Do you favor eliminating the wasteful excesses in the federal budget?" and "Do you favor reducing the federal budget?" might well yield different answers from the same respondent.

Questions are either closed-ended or open-ended, depending on the researcher's choice. In a closed-ended question, a limited number of fixed response choices are provided to subjects. With open-ended questions, subjects are able to respond in any way they like. Thus, a researcher could ask, "Where would you like a swimming pool to be built in this town?" as opposed to "Which of the following locations is your top choice for a swimming pool to be built in this town?" The first question allows the respondent to provide any answer; the second provides a fixed number of answers from which the person must choose. Use of closed-ended questions is a more structured approach, allowing greater ease of analysis because the response choices are the same for everyone. Open-ended questions require more time to analyze and are therefore more costly. Open-ended questions, however, can provide valuable insights into what the subjects are actually thinking.

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Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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