Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2013 13:16:52 -0400
Subject: Invalid question in the Downtown Transportation Operations Study survey
From: Ambrose LI
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Colwill)
Cc: email@example.com (Andre Filippetti)
I am writing to report that Toronto’s transportation policy is being jeopardized by poor question design in the said survey. In particular, question 6 in the said survey, namely the question “When do you typically make trips to/from/within the downtown?” is invalid for a significant number of survey respondants.
I am a student studying in the study area and I typically go downtown in one of the listed time periods, but go back uptown in a different time period, and I know my situation is normal. How are we, students, supposed to answer this question? We are essentially forced to either lie (and you get invalid data), or give up on responding to the survey (and you lose a data point).
In essence, to/during/from should either be three separate questions, or the options should be check boxes and not radio buttons.
For an important study like this, the questionnaire should be well designed. I cannot imagine how such an obvious flaw would be able to make it into the final version of the questionnaire.