Do Your Questions Still Make Sense?

Unsurprisingly, I’m sure, I do pretty severe edits on research questions that are put in front of me. It’s not uncommon for me to go back to a client with a questionnaire that contains about 30% fewer words than the one they submitted.

Unfortunately, I’m also used to hearing words like this: “Sorry, we have to keep that question as it is — we’ve been asking it that way for years.”

Sometimes, it’s just sad, because the question has obviously been asked wrong for years, but there’s not a lot you can do in those cases.

Worse, though, is when the question may have once made sense, but no longer does:


In a world with three TV stations and half hour newscasts airing at 5 pm, 5:30 pm, 6 pm, and 11 pm, this made sense.

In 2008, less so.

I wake up in the morning and put on Morning Joe on MSNBC. I get to work and put on CNBC on one TV and MSNBC on another. I go home and watch Closing Bell on CNBC, then switch back to MSNBC for Hardball and David Gregory’s pathetic show; I’ll often watch Rachel Maddow at 11 and fall asleep to the Hardball replay at midnight.

I have no idea how many “occasions” that translates to. I guess it’s eight, if we assume that CNBC and MSNBC from 9 am to 4 pm  count as one occasion, which I’m not sure they do. And what if I flip channels and see there’s a car chase taking place on Fox News? Does that make it nine for the day? I guess I’ll say 9, and multiply by 30 to get 270 for the month…


Oh. So according to Harris, I can watch news programs on no more than four occasions per day.

Good to know, guys.


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Filed under answer choices, Harris, Market Research

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