What is meant by the phrase ‘leading question’?

Paul Stallard - Monday September 16th 2019

A leading question is something that will back your participant into a corner and potentially mislead them into agreeing with a statement that they may otherwise not believe to be true. Asking the right questions to get the most out of a piece of research is crucial.

There is a fine line between asking the right questions and leading your participants. Often, it stems from the phrasing. If you phrase a question as ‘Do you agree that this is the case’ rather than ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree with…’ you will get completely different results. The second option is highly open and non-leading, with respondents feeling they can be honest with their answer. The first option, however, would lead respondents to feel more inclined to agree with the statement, meaning you would not get as accurate a representation of your audiences’ beliefs.

Asking leading questions is not only unethical but can be in danger of not complying with stringent MRS and ESOMAR standards. As a result, the research would be deemed invalid – undermining your entire campaign.

At Arlington Research we pride ourselves on the ability to let the public take the reins. We have a highly skilled infrastructure that allows us to be reactive to results quickly, so that we can formulate ideas and stories based around whatever the research produces. Further, we aim to achieve accurate results in a timely manor with no risk of misleading the public.

Asking leading questions is not only unethical but can be in danger of not complying with stringent MRS and ESOMAR standards.

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