Survey Design and loaded questions

Finishing up the final stages of compiling my research data on student/young adult participation in the performing arts. I have received quite a good response, and the challenge now begins of analyzing all the answers. This was the first survey I have ever designed, and there were some definite things I learned from the experience.

First of all, it is easier than one may think to write questions that are “loaded”. That is, questions that are worded in such a way that the taker of the survey is sub-consciously directed to answer the question in a certain way. The classic example is an attorney asking a defendant at trial, “Mr. Jones, have you stopped beating your wife?” This is “loaded” because it presupposes many things about Mr. Jones.

After having already sent out the survey, I realized that some of the questions I asked could possible be seen as loaded. Lesson learned. Now the challenge comes of working this all out in the data. Good times.