An example of a poorly worded survey question

Taking a survey on Facebook today brought me to this incredibly poorly worded question (you were supposed to say whether you agreed with the statement and how strongly):

I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can’t pursue.

This is called a “loaded question” because there’s an assumption being made regardless of which clause you pay attention to in answering. If the part you focus on is whether or not you have strong interests, then a positive response means you get upset about it if you can’t involve yourself in them. If you’re paying attention to the latter clause and decide you don’t get upset over them, then you’re answering in the negative as to whether you have the strong interests at all.

This is just another example of the classic Groucho Marx question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”. Groucho was asking it to be funny. When the purpose is a serious survey, you don’t word things like this.

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