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Question Wording as Discourse Indicators

Many of the questions used by survey researchers serve to solicit people's opinions on topical issues, and the distribution of the answers to survey questions makes up what is usually considered to be the “public's opinions.” Thus, most research on survey questions treats these questions as “stimuli” and focuses on their communicative and evocative functions. As such, scholars examine response biases associated with certain question formats or wordings, the cognitive processes underlying these biases, and the flow and conversational logic of the interviewing process. But survey questions also may be viewed as responses, where those who formulate the questions are responding to meaningful social forces and conditions. Thus, survey questions can be excellent indicators for public discourse.

From this perspective, the wording of survey questions becomes ...

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