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Manipulation of surveys: Plasticity and priming responses

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  1. Introduction
  2. Communist country and the American reporters
  3. The correlation between varying verbs in questions and responses
  4. Priming responses by students
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

Philip K. Dick, American science fiction writer, once said, ?The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.? Although Dick wasn?t talking specifically about surveys, this idea applies to plasticity and priming responses in surveys, since the wording of surveys can greatly influence the results. It is interesting to consider exactly how these two biases affect survey results, how they occur in the first place, what the consequences are, and how their effects can be minimized. The manipulation of surveys, whether intentional or due to inadequate editing, has the potential to shift the results of important surveys, which has the potential to affect a lot of people.

[...] Those who are involved with writing surveys need to carefully consider the order and phrasing of their questions, and anticipate how respondents may think about the survey. By investing sufficient time in carefully shaping the survey to be as neutral as possible, and then having several people proofread the questions, the effects of plasticity and priming responses will be greatly reduced. This is an important goal, since these conditions can drastically manipulate the results of surveys. This could ultimately suggest conclusions that don't support the respondents true opinions, which then could lead to actions that are counterproductive. Works Cited Bishop, George F., Robert W. Oldendick, Alfred [...]


[...] For example, a study by Rugg asked, you think that the United States should allow public speeches against democracy? and you think that the United States should forbid public speeches against democracy.? For the first question of the responders said that the US should not allow these speeches. For the second question, only 46% said that the US should forbid these speeches. Although the two questions ask the exact same thing, there is a huge discrepancy in opinion. Because many people associate a loss of freedom with forbidding anything, they're far less likely to support a question phrased with a forbiddance of anything (Plous 68-69). [...]

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