Category Archives: Harris

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 pmĀ  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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How Many Times A Week Does The Milkman Visit Your Home?



I wonder why they left off 300, 1200, 2400, and 9600 baud.

Seriously, it looks like broadband penetration is at about 57% right now, but it’s 90% among active internet users, which should mean that only about 1 of 10 people who see this question are actually using dialup. Is it really that important to know exactly which speed dialup they have?

I also suspect there would be a STRONG correlation between using dialup and having absolutely no idea what speed you’re connecting at, but that could be wrong.

BTW, further down the list, you’ll notice ISDN listed. ISDN never really took off in the US, being both slow and expensive, and I think if you’re going to list that as a separate choice, you may as well include X.25 and frame relay while you’re at it.

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