Several studies also have shown that asking a more specific question before a more general question (e.g., asking about happiness with one’s marriage before asking about one’s overall happiness) can result in a contrast effect. Although some exceptions have been found, people tend to avoid redundancy by excluding the more specific question from the general rating.
Pew Research Center pretests all of its questionnaires, typically on the evening before a survey is scheduled to begin. The staff then meet the following day to discuss the pretest and make any changes to the questionnaire before the survey goes into the field. Information from pretesting is invaluable when making final decisions about the survey questionnaire.
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