Measuring Opinions, Values and Attitudes in Your Survey

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When developing your survey, whether it’s an online survey, paper survey, kiosk or mobile survey, questions relating to opinions, values, and attitudes require careful consideration.  Because these are subjective questions about the thought processes and feelings of a respondent, they are not directly verifiable through external observation.   Feelings and thoughts can vary day to day and your survey questions may or may not be of relevance to the respondent.

The three most common non-verifiable questions for surveys are: 

  1. Questions Measuring Opinions:  Statements about issues that the respondent may agree or disagree with. 
  2. Questions Measuring Values:  Statements about ideals and customs that are, or are not, important to the respondent. 
  3. Questions Measuring Attitudes:  Statements that measure a group of opinions, values and dispositions to act associated with a subject. 

These types of survey questions can be affected by many factors such as freedom to express opinion based on law, culture, anonymity, or lack of knowledge, in regard to the subject. 

Example:  If a mobile survey is conducted asking political questions in a country where mobile phones are registered, respondents may not give a truthful opinion for fear of reprisal.  Careful consideration must be given to both the question and the conditions of the sample group surveyed.

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