I've just finished responding to an alleged "survey" conducted as part of a PhD student's work in pursuit of that award.

The document itself was little more than a "vegan" propaganda rant, dismissing any contrary view by simply not allowing non-supportive responses. The "researcher" climed for instance, that the reason that we call cow-meat "beef" is purely commercial - were it called "cow" people would see the light and become vegans.

This type of survey is unfortunately not uncommon. So much for the value of the qualifications obtained from grants from the public purse - to say nothing of the "validation" it provides for future researcher able to cite Dr. Jo One-eyed's 2014 study which found...what was intended to be found.

So I wondered whether there was a term for such surveys. I'd be tempted to call it an Appleby for obvious reasons - but why coin a term when there's a perfectly good one already?

  • 1
    The criticism part is not relevant to the question I suppose.
    – Kris
    Dec 1 '14 at 5:55
  • @Kris Well - you could be right, there. Just setting the scene. Would there be a separate word for an Appleby designed for perpetrating academic fraud (as descibed) and one designed for plebian fraud as may be created by a loaded (hmm...perhaps that's the word) survey conducted "for your convenience" by some (semi-)governmental authority? Whatever they are, there seem to be far too many arriving from academic institutions under the guise of being some serious study leading to an ostensibly-valid qualification.
    – Magoo
    Dec 1 '14 at 6:47
  • That (the above comment) sounds like a peeve to me. And it's not quite the same as the question, if I understand it right. Why not rephrase the question suitably?
    – Kris
    Dec 1 '14 at 13:27
  • Magoo, please explain what you mean by Appleby. It certainly isn't obvious how it applies. Do you refer to something done by something called Appleby, eg by applebyglobal.com, applebyco.com, applebywyman.com, etc? Dec 1 '14 at 15:50

Terms like slanted, leading, loaded, and biased have been used in reviews of survey questions and in advice about creating questionnaires.

Example 1: A socialresearchmethods.net article asks (at the end) “Is the wording loaded or slanted?”

Example 2: In Creative Problem Solving for Health Care Professionals, C. K. Golightly writes

When preparing the survey instrument, one must avoid introducing bias, especially in closed-ended questions. Slanted questions will produce slanted results.

  • Those "terms" are generic and do not necessarily refer to a survey as the title requires.
    – Kris
    Dec 1 '14 at 13:28
  • @Kris, it's unclear whether “Term for surveys to confirm pre-determined outcomes” asks for an adjective to characterize such surveys or for a noun to name them. Note, while the title of a question acts as a reference label, a suggestion of post content, an attention getter, etc., ideally the body of a post defines the question. (In this question, the body of the post may be an example of itself.) Dec 1 '14 at 15:59

In implanting their beliefs or assumptions into the design of the survey, the study designer is showing obvious experimenter's or research bias. In a less obvious, ethically-charged survey, researchers may influence the range of possible outcomes due to the observer-expectancy effect.

Very broadly, this influence of preconception and anticipation on research is termed confirmation bias:

Confirmation biases are effects in information processing...Some psychologists use "confirmation bias" to refer to the tendency to avoid rejecting beliefs, while searching for evidence, interpreting it, or recalling it from memory. Other psychologists restrict the term to selective collection of evidence.

Experiments have found repeatedly that people tend to test hypotheses in a one-sided way, by searching for evidence consistent with their current hypothesis. Rather than searching through all the relevant evidence, they phrase questions to receive an affirmative answer that supports their hypothesis. [wikipedia:confirmation_bias]


Persuasive Essay (WP)

Persuasive writing
From Wikipedia
Persuasive writing, is a piece of work in which the writer uses words to convince the reader that the writer's opinion is correct with regard to an issue. … it may simply consist of an argument or several arguments to align the reader with the writer’s point of view.

It's one of several recognized ways of writing, and according to WP, "is one of the most commonly used writing types in the world," so it doesn't really deserve to be looked down upon as anything but one type of presenting an argument (nothing wrong).

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