A loaded question is often referred to as a leading question. What is a loaded question in market research? A loaded question is a question written by a survey designer aimed to push the respondent to a specific answer. A loaded question creates bias and makes the results collected for the question unreliable.
Loaded questions in surveys can come in many forms. Some are blatantly obvious while some are more difficult to notice. Some are written on purpose, while most are done unbeknownst to the amateur survey writer.
Here are some examples of loaded questions that bias the respondent to pick a specific answer:
- "CBS is America's most-watched network. What network channel do you watch the most?" Problem: The survey writer makes the respondent aware CBS is most-popular before asking.
- "Some say ABC hospital does not provide a high-quality of care to patients, what is your impression of ABC hospital?" Problem: The survey writer sets the negative tone for a poor impression of ABC Hospital.
- "In the past 12 months, have you quit drinking alcohol?" Problem: Regardless of whether or not the survey respondent drinks or has never drank alcohol, he/she is forced into a yes or no question and assumes guilt as if he/she should quit.
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