Survey Critique


In a recent email, Professor Ball invited us to critique a survey put together by a fellow J-school student. I figured I would take this opportunity as a way to demonstrate how developed my research skills have become over the course of this semester.

The survey was very short and consisted of nine open-ended questions. The responses will be hard to code and analyze on a mass scale, but that's OK as she wants our opinions to help guide in developing a questionnaire for a future study. All of the questions referenced bottled water, and it is clear the student is trying to gauge bottled water use and perceptions of its use among college students.

It leaves me wondering what her research questions and hypotheses are. Obviously that is privileged information as participants only get a snippet of that kind of information when they get briefed before taking surveys. Yet I am very interested in what they would be as I am helping to formulate an ad campaign about bottled water in another class.

That ad campaign is actually going to expose some disturbing realities behind bottled water. For example, one fact we uncovered is that 40% of bottled water is actually taken from municipal water sources also known as "tap water," and Bottled Water can be distributed even if it doesn't meet the quality standards of tap water.

I wonder if this student should expose respondents to some of these facts and have them re-take the survey? I guess that would depend on his/her research objectives. I would do exactly that, however, if I wanted to measure the effects of my group's ad campaign.

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