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Created: January 19, 2002
Latest Update: January 19, 2002

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Asking the Right Question

Journal entry by jeanne

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, January 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

This essay was inspired by a series of PSN posts. I've pulled them together here to make us aware of the extent to which even questions have agendas. We embody our perspective, our own theoretical approach in the very way we ask the questions. Thos of you enamored of survey techniques should pay particular attention to this.

  • PSN Post by Michael Perelman, Economics Department, California State University.
    Does anyone here know of a relatively straightforward study of the sort of social characteristics that are typical of people who managed to catapult themselves from poverty to affluence?

  • PSN Post by David H. Kessel
    On another list where this "question" was posted...this response was given:

    "Alas, I don't have any suggestions in response to Kelley's forwarded question, but I think I might use it as an example in my research methods class of a way of posing a question which invites us to make two classic mistakes (1) sampling on the dependent variable, and (2) privileging attributes over structural position. I don't mean to imply that the question asker would make these errors, but the question is phrased very nicely to illustrate them."

    I thought it put it nicely.

We'll discuss this further . . . . jeanne, January 19, 2002.