Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Wrong Question

Or to be fairer, the wrong wording.

"Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"

Ah, he's not asking if we want Scotland to be an independent country, but do we think it is a good idea. Thinking it is a good idea does not necessarily mean it is what people really want.

A little bit of self-trumpet blowing here: I'm a highly experienced interviewer, professionally trained and have also trained both interviewers and interviewees, up to MD level. I've also carried out interviews where I have been accountable to Parliament with my conduct and decisions.

One thing that should never, in any circumstance, be used in an interview is a leading question. The police should certainly avoid them, as do professional recruiters and HR personnel.

"Do you agree....." is a leading question.

Such questions are open to misinterpretation, and bias the responses in favour of the desired result - in this case, the SNP want a "Yes".

That question has almost certainly come from someone with a journalistic background, since that is how they are trained to conduct interviews.

The question should be "Do you want Scotland to be an independent country?"

Straight, simple and direct. No grey areas, no bias and certainly no misinterpretation.

The wording needs changed - rapidly.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting.

    Apart from that I don't really have a problem with the wording, but since the Unionists are considering it to be unbalanced then I would add a bit on: "and leave the United Kingdom", or whatever.

    To that extent it encapsulates both sides of the argument, and as it stands it's slightly leading in nature, even ignoring your more nuanced point.