Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CBS News/New York Times' Poll: Gays in the Military

Words can be powerful and value-laden. This can have an impact upon survey responses, as it did for this survey about attitudes towards gays serving in the military. This survey was taken in 2010, and gays can now openly serve in the military, but I still think this example is still a powerful way of teaching the weight of words when creating surveys.

property of cbs.com

I tend to use this as an extra credit, asking my students to respond to two questions:

1) Why do you think wording makes such a difference in survey responding?
2) If you were campaigning for gay rights, would you use the term "homosexuals" or "gay men and lesbians" in your advertising? What if you were campaigning to deny "homosexuals" or "gay men and lesbians" the right to adopt children, which wording would you chose? Why?

For more information, you can see the original news release for the polling data here.