Key terms in survey questions too often are not well understood, and such ambiguity can affect responses. As an example, the article “How Unclear Terms Affect Survey Data” (Public Opinion Quarterly : 218– 231) described a survey in which each individual in a sample was asked, “Do you exercise or play sports regularly?” But what constitutes exercise? The following revised question was then asked of each individual in the same sample: “Do you do any sports or hobbies involving physical activities, or any exercise, including walking, on a regular basis?” The resulting data are shown in the accompanying table.
Is there any difference between the true proportions of yes responses to these questions? Can a procedure from this chapter be used to answer the question posed? If yes, use it; if not, explain why not.
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