So what should one do if one is asked to fill out a questionnaire with flawed questions?
The answer depends upon a few factors.
If there are a significant number of flawed questions so as to make the whole process flawed, then you should make this known. Contact the questioners and see if they are receptive to withdrawing the questionnaire. If not, you have few options, all of which are less than satisfactory.
If there is a minimum return rate, so that boycotting the questionnaire will have an outcome, then simply failing to return your questionnaire is an option. In this case however, you will have to hope that enough people have noticed the flawed questions and will boycott it. You may need to spread the word!
If the questioners have not set a minimum return rate, so any number of returns will count, then your only option is to make your views known via the questionnaire itself. You could write ‘Flawed Question‘ across the answer area or in the comments. The trouble with this is that you are relying on the questioners to recognise that it is a flawed question and ignore everybody’s answer. For instance, taking the example of:
‘Have you had experience of motorbikes riding on the heath?’ we know that it is impossible to find out from this whether we should encourage or discourage motorbikes (without another agenda) because opposite sides of the same argument will attract the same answer. Maybe ‘Withdraw this question’ should be written if you think that no answers to this question should be used.
Unfortunately, much work is put into writing questionnaires, whether flawed or not, so those involved will be unlikely withdraw questions or questionnaires. In this case, you are simply forced to accept the will of those in charge with no recourse.
Please feel free to comment below…