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Volume 2: No. 2, April 2005

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
A Note on “A Catalog of Biases in Questionnaires”


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Suggested citation for this article: Harrow JJ. A note on “A Catalog of Biases in Questionnaires” [letter to the editor]. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2005 Apr [date cited]. Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/
apr/05_0014.htm
.

To the Editor:

The authors of “A Catalog of Biases in Questionnaires” in the January issue (1) provide a useful catalog of questionnaire biases, but in one of their examples, their recommended response is guilty of the same bias. This error occurs in Overlapping Interval.

Example:

How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?

[ ] None  [ ] 5 or less   [ ] 5–25    [ ] 25 or more

The authors' recommended question was:

How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?

[ ] None  [ ] 4 or less  [ ] 5–24    [ ] 25 or more

While this corrects the ambiguity of the first question for respondents who smoke exactly 5 or 25 cigarettes per day, it maintains the ambiguity for nonsmokers. The recommended question should be:

How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?

[ ] None   [ ] 1–4   [ ] 5–24   [ ] 25 or more

Jeffrey J. Harrow, MD, PhD
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 8
Patient Safety Center of Inquiry
James A. Haley VA Medical Center
Tampa, Fla

Read the author's reply

References

  1. Choi BCK, Pak AWP. A catalog of biases in questionnaires. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2005 Jan [Accessed 2004 Dec 15].

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