April 28, 2011

Open Letter to Survey Respondents

Thank you so much for taking my survey. I know that you are busy, and I sincerely appreciate your time.

Thank you also for taking the time to provide constructive criticism of the survey in the margins of the page. I sympathize with your struggle to decide which response best describes your experience. Sometimes you feel torn between two options. Sometimes you feel that two or more options apply to you, and sometimes none of the options seems quite right. I understand that life is complicated, and that the breadth and nuance of human experience cannot be captured in a multiple choice survey.

But please, please, please, just check something. Because when you skip the options and write something like this:
       [  ] Yes
[ ] No
It depends! It depends on my mood, on the weather, on whether I got a good night's sleep or got totally wasted the night before and then had to wake up early. You see, when I was a child, I had a bad experience with an antelope, and sometimes I still have nightmares about it. I wake up sweaty and out of breath, and for a few terrifying moments I still think I can hear him galloping before I realize it was just a dream. You should really add a box for that.

It just gets coded like this:
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
NA <---
Yes
No

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