Unbalanced Question

An unbalanced question is one that has a question stem that does not present the respondent with all reasonably plausible sides of an issue. The issue of balance in a survey question also can apply to the response alternatives that are presented to respondents. Unbalanced questions generally are closed-ended questions, but it is possible to use open-ended questions in which the question stem is unbalanced. An unbalanced question will not always lead to biased data, but that is the concern in most instances.

For example, the following closed-ended question is unbalanced for several reasons and will lead to invalid (biased) data:

Many people believe that American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible. Do you Strongly Agree, Agree, Somewhat Agree, or Strongly Disagree ?

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