Families Commission: The Couch’s poll number 5

This is the response from a friend of mine to an email from The Families Commission.

—–Original Message—–
From: (snip)
Sent: Thursday, 16 November 2006 12:31 p.m.
To: ‘enquiries@thecouch.org.nz’
Subject: RE: Families Commission: The Couch’s poll number 5

Kia Ora The Couch and the Families Commission.

I am highly trained in survey creation and I have to confess, your latest survey into attitudes to family violence is poorly designed.

To ask whether "violence between the following people is family violence" is a clear indication of bias in the survey approach. To ask, "is a violent action violent" is immediately telling the person filling out the form the intended outcome and so wrecks your entire survey.

It is impossible to say that violence on a child in someone’s care is not family violence: we don’t have any choice in the questions but to agree, thus your survey is instantly skewed. It is similar to asking, "Is violence committed by a bank robber on a teller during a bank raid on a crowded bank a public display of violence?"

Adding to the difficulty is that people will draw different conclusions from your questions: if someone believes that physical discipline on children is violence then they will try and argue that this shows the survey result indicates that many people believe that physical discipline on children is wrong. But the question does not ask about physical discipline! The survey questioning does not eradicate false conclusions, which is a major rule of survey design.

The fact that many of the questions are leading and that they are open to different interpretations over the definition of violence means that it is impossible to draw a conclusion from the survey.

Due to such re-interpretation, it is impossible for anyone to analyse the data to draw a quantitative result – the data will always have to be
reinterpreted by the survey analyst with a number of presumptions over what is meant by "violence". This further messes up your result.

No matter what you do, the results of the survey will be skewed.

I suggest that you withdraw this survey immediately. Please try again with a properly designed survey that cannot be skewed in this manner.

Kind regards
(snip)

—–Original Message—–
From: enquiries@thecouch.org.nz [mailto:enquiries@thecouch.org.nz]
Sent: Monday, 13 November 2006 6:00 p.m.
To: (snip)
Subject: Families Commission: The Couch’s poll number 5

Kia ora (snip),

You’re invited to take part in our latest poll – Attitudes towards Family Violence – and to view the results of our Managing the Family Budget poll.

Attitudes towards Family Violence poll

We are jointly leading a campaign (with the Ministry of Social Development) to change attitudes and behaviours towards family violence. We’d like to know more about your views and knowledge about family violence. Your feedback will help us to develop the campaign. This poll closes on 18 December.

Results: Managing the Family Budget poll

Rising living costs are making it hard for some of our Couch families to make ends meet. This poll has found some families are cutting back on items such as food, groceries and healthcare services. You can view the report on the Results page now.

Visit http://www.thecouch.org.nz/poll/takepoll/8 to log in and take the poll. We look forward to your feedback!

If you have any further questions about The Couch, please contact us at: enquiries@thecouch.org.nz or by post at The Couch, Families Commission, Box 2839, Wellington.

Giving New Zealand families a voice Te reo o te whānau

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