Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Innovative Polling

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Aug 18, 2006

Responding to Jeff Jarvis:

I guess what makes YouGov an "innovative" polling company is their disregard for appropriate polling methodology.

They ask, for example, "Should the Government have done more to make air travel safer BEFORE the alleged terrorist plot was uncovered on 10th August?"

Guess what answer the poll expects?

And another question is worded as follows: "Passenger profiling is a recent term used to describe the process of selecting passengers based on their background or appearance. Would you like to see 'passenger profiling' introduced?"

This definition of 'passenger profiling' is debatable at best. And once again, the preferences of the pollster are apparent to the reader.

A professional journalist would recognize this bias and dismiss the poll accordingly. A political hack will play it up as though it were news and in some way representative of the opinions and beliefs of Britons after the incident.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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