Excess Noise Knowledge Base

Definitions for those who work in communications and perception

Survey

Survey

Many dictionaries define a survey as a means of investigating the opinions or experience of a group of people by asking them questions. As a principle, surveying is a good thing. It shows that those engaging in said survey value the opinion of their targets. There is, however, an inherent problem with surveying when seen in the context of Communications and Perception Analysis. The problem is twofold. First, a talented survey designer can direct the data. By placing certain questions before others, by using specific wording and by limiting the scope of response, surveys can basically be rigged. In a more innocent scenario, they can simply be inaccurate. This is not to say that they are without value. Quite the contrary, Communications and Perception Analysis encourages the use of surveys but only in the context of a broader set of analysis tools. The second problem with surveys is the inherent capacity of people to be both objective and aware. If you ask someone why they like you, they will be hard pressed to find the precise reason. Ask them why they keep going back to the same restaurant, why they dislike red or why they prefer vacationing in a tent rather than a hotel and the same is true. Most people cannot easily dissect their choices and so simply asking them for the reasons is imprecise. Use surveys, but do so as one of your Communications and Perception Analysis tools.

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This glossary of definitions is not intended as an academic reference. It is an exercise in thinking on our part. We hope to grow it and welcome any suggestions you may have.