Refleksje nad stosowaniem pytań pustych w wywiadach kwestionariuszowych
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Dummy questions are defined as those based on false statements. The scope of the term “dummy question” is narrower than that of the term “captious question” although the purpose for which both of them are applied is identical. In either case the aim is to ascertain a respondent’s predisposition to the ways of answering the question asked; the application of dummy question may, with the acceptance of certain additional assumptions, help to identify these predispositions. Conclusion may be drawn not only about a respondent’s predispositions to answer questions, but also about the determinants of these predispositions. This way of defining the purpose of the use of dummy questions requires the acceptance of appropriate assumption with regard to the interpretation of answers to dummy questions. It is assumed that the interpretation of an answer to a dummy question leads to the classification of that answer as belonging to one of the two categories: either to a category of answers approving the false statement contained in the question (as when a respondent does not identify that false statement, answering the question as if it were based on a true statement) or to a category of answers disapproving the statement of the question (when a respondent identifies that false statement). In case a respondent gives an answer approving the statement contained in a dummy question, the researcher may: 1° either reject all the information given by that respondent considering him as an untrustworthy person in general, 2° or adopt a certain margin of error, without rejecting all the information obtained from such a respondent. Analysis of dummy questions used in pilot studies shows, that a serious problem arises in connection with the way such questions are worded. The wording of a dummy question may affect the possibility of interpretation of the obtained answer, i.e. the possibility to classify it as approving or disapproving the statement contained in that question.