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More on multiple-choice questions in surveys of law departments

A previous post discusses multiple-choice questions and one feature of them: how participants are invited to select among the choices (See my post of July 3, 2007.). Other features of the ubiquitous form of question deserve comment. Multiple choice questions on surveys ought to:

Recognize that some plausible choices have been omitted and cover them with a selection for “Other” (See my posts of April 12, 2006 on the importance of “Other” as a choice; and July 14, 2005 to the same point.).

Strive to cover every reasonable choice and not overlap (See my post of June 16, 2007 on the test of Mutually Exclusive, Comprehensively Exhaustive.). To do so, selections need to be defined tightly and worded carefully.

Limit any one question to no more than seven or eight selections, since the number of selections has an effect on how people answer them (See my post of Nov. 13, 2006 on decision difficulties when there are too many choices.).

List selections neutrally, such as alphabetically, and make no effort to influence people by the order of choices (See my post of Dec. 20, 2005 on the order of questions.).

Avoid disjunctives such as “Knowledge of industry or experience” since you can’t untangle the combined concepts.

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