Researcher: People who participate in opinion surveys often give answers they believe the opinion surveyor expects to...

on November 10, 2018


I didn't think E was the correct answer. Can someone please explain why it is the correct answer? Thank you!


Jacob on November 11, 2018

I’m happy to help. As always, let’s start by examining the question stem. We are looking for an answer that describes what the argument overlooks. In order to find that answer, let’s look back at the argument.

The researcher is saying that some opinion surveys do not reflect the actual views of those surveyed, because people often give answers that they think the surveyed wants to hear.

But in well-constructed surveys, the questions are worded in a way that don’t give any indication of what answers the surveyor may expect.

And then there is a conclusion: Well constructed survey -> survey respondents’ desire has no effect on the survey results.

Right off the bat, you should see a problem — “no effect”?! Surely the wording of survey questions is not the only way that people who are surveyed might try to figure out what the surveyor expects to hear? For example, think of the most neutral phrasing possible of a hypothetical question: “Do you think it is right or wrong to steal candy from a baby?”

The wording is neutral — it gives no indication what the right answer is. But there are other ways we might think a person who is surveyed would be influenced — by social mores, for example, or by a total guess about the surveyor’s belief.

And that is what answer E offers: that the argument overlooks the possibilities that the answers can still be influenced about beliefs about the surveyor’s expectations, even if those expectations are not communicated via the wording of the question.

I hope that helps! Please let us know if you have further questions.

on September 29, 2020

Why would A be wrong then?