Tuesday Buzz: The Single-Question Fallacy

Are single-question surveys actually useful? A membership marketing expert makes the case against them. Also: How Minecraft presents a path for using unorthodox tools for education.

Any association pro will tell you that inspiration strikes at unusual moments.

For Smooth the Path principal Amanda Kaiser, it came when she was in the middle of dealing with a credit card kerfuffle. After dealing with an experience in which her card was suspended at an inopportune time over a suspicious charge, she was presented a few days later with a one-question survey over email.

“Based on your recent call experience, if a family member, friend or colleague asked you to recommend a credit card, how likely would you be to recommend us?”

And that’s the spark behind Kaiser’s latest blog post, about why single-question surveys aren’t so helpful. The problem, Kaiser points out, is that the survey in this case asked the wrong question: Kaiser hadn’t been worried about the call with the customer service representative but about the suspension of her card.

“Micro-surveys can give us inaccurate results,” she explains. “We expect respondents to interpret the question the way we interpret it. We suspect we provided the correct forced choice answers. We get so focused on our question we forget about the broader context in which members are making decisions.”

Check out Kaiser’s full post for more thoughts on the weaknesses of micro-surveys.

Minecraft as Teaching Tool

Sometimes the best way to tackle a major education challenge is to speak the same language as your students. Which is why the latest effort by Microsoft and its subsidiary Mojang could be something for those in the education space to watch.

The companies are launching a new education edition of the popular build-a-universe game Minecraft. The efforts highlight a growing phenomenon in education: taking things approachable to learners, like games, and turning them into educational tools. Think your association’s own education efforts could benefit from a similar tactic?

Other Links of Note

Last week’s decision by the National Football League’s Board of Governors to allow the Rams to depart St. Louis for Los Angeles has SCD Group’s Steve Drake thinking about board governance. “Boiled down to the basics, the way the Rams-NFL deal went down is not unlike the ways things often go down in our line of work,” one of Drake’s readers argues.

Think it’s not possible to sell out an event in 50 seconds? The Event Manager Blog tells the story of one event pro that pulled it off.

Don’t use these passwords.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!