Social Impact Survey

After the very promising response to last night’s tentative suggestion for a survey, I’m going to carry on thinking out loud about it. My draft title for the survey is above.

Firstly, I’m not going to discuss ways of publishing the survey, and ways of responding to attempts to discredit it. For now I’ll just suppose that the results will published on the internet, perhaps in my blog. And secondly I’m not going to discuss whether it will constitute “science” or not. For now I’m just going to assume that it will be at least as good science as anything Tobacco Control produces, and perhaps even a great deal better. It’s not that I don’t think that either of these questions matters, but rather that I think there’s no need to think about them right now.

Instead I’d like to discuss the aims and methodology of the proposed survey.

Aim and Methodology

In this respect I regard the aim of the study as primarily that of finding how what kind of social impact smoking bans have had on smokers. I want to find out how socially isolated or excluded smokers have become. I realise that smoking bans are quite likely to have had an impact on non-smokers as well as smokers, but for the moment I propose leaving them aside.

The methodology of the study is firstly to decide on a set of questions to ask smokers, and then get enough volunteers to go out and ask smokers that they casually encounter these questions, and record their answers, and transfer the responses into emails that get sent to some central hub for later processing at the end of the study period (2 – 3 months).

In this respect, I’ll probably be the central hub. And surprisingly and gratifyingly we already have 8 volunteers pollsters (9 if I include myself)* in Britain, USA, Canada, Spain, and Greece. And that’s after just one day. So we may be hope for twice that number. If these pollsters manage to get the responses of just 20 smokers, that will produce a sample of 160. We should hope to push it up to 500 or even higher.

What we don’t have are the questions. And in this respect I agree with Iro Cyr that the questions should be kept simple. And I agree with some of her proposed questions as well. And for speed and simplicity, I’m also inclined to adopt a check-box approach. I’d like to think that an individual smoker could be surveyed in the period of a minute or less. This is in part because I want to minimize the impact/delay on smokers, and also minimize the effort for pollsters. I also think the questions should be neutral, and not leading questions in any sense.

So my first draft set of questions and check-box replies is:

Do you approve of the smoking ban?  [love it][+2] [+1] [0] [-1] [-2] [hate it]
What effect has it had on your social life? [+3 better] [+2] [+1] [0] [-1] [-2] [-3 worse]
How often do you now visit pubs and restaurants?  [+3 more] [+2] [+1] [ 0] [-1] [-2] [-3]
How much do you now smoke?  [+3 more] [+2] [+1] [ 0] [-1] [-2] [-3]
Please summarize your response to the ban in one word: ………………………………..

These are just draft questions. What I hope is that we can settle on some set of questions in discussion.

So the pollster will go out armed with a pen and a set of printed questions. He/she will ask smokers these questions, and will note their answers. So after surveying 10 smokers, there will be 10 completed forms.

There’s also the possibility of smokers filling in the forms themselves, and maybe taking forms home to friends to fill in and return by hand or by post.

I think that in addition to these questions, the pollster should note down the sex and approximate age of the smokers interviewed, and also the circumstances (e.g. outside a pub).

Afterwards, at home, the pollsters transcribe the responses into an email (perhaps of a standardised format) and send them off, taking care not to send them twice.

In addition to this, the pollsters should fill in the questionnaire themselves, and also provide additional data about their locality, the nature of the local ban in their area, how long it has been in place, how well it is observed, what climate conditions are like (i.e. cold/warm outside) were like, and maybe a few other things. The pollsters’ own responses to the poll would be kept separate from other responses.

So there would be a set of data for each area, and a set of observed data about each smoker, and the smokers’ individual responses.

Some questions arise: how do you identify smokers? I suggest that only people who are seen smoking be questioned, because they are manifestly smokers. That’s the acid test. People who say they are smokers may not actually be smokers.

I’m also a little concerned about being too intrusive. Simon Clark has a piece today describing how some smokers dodged a photo survey. I’m wondering whether pollsters (if they smoke) should set smokers at ease by smoking themselves, and  thereby winning their trust.

Data Processing

I’ve also given a bit of thought to processing the data which is gathered. As many of you know, I’m a computer programmer, and if the data in the emails returned are of a standard format, I could write some code to read the emails and store the results. Ideally this should be in a database, but I don’t have much experience of those. And while I have fairly good mathematical skills, I haven’t done very much statistics, and am not sure how to work out statistical significances, confidence intervals, and so on. I’d have no problem producing charts, tables, and graphs.

But I also think that the data should be stored in several locations. And so when data is sent by email, it should be carbon-copied to other people (who would just keep it safe).

Apart from the mathematical data processing, there would also be a task of interpretation  – drawing conclusions. I think this should be carried out by several people.

Other Matters

As I’ve been thinking about it today, several other concerns have arisen.

Firstly, I’m a bit concerned about what happens if one or more of the pollsters is an antismoking ‘mole’ who will falsify results to show that all the smokers in his area are delighted by their smoking ban, and want more bans. After all, it could happen, now that we know for sure that the antis are reading this blog. Suggestions please.

Secondly, I’m a little concerned about asking questions which might seem intrusive. After all, we’ll be asking people about their personal lives. One question that I would like to ask is whether the smokers are married or single, because I think this makes a difference. But is that too intrusive?

Thirdly, I’m a little worried that the smokers that my proposed methodology will turn up will only be those smokers who are found smoking outside pubs, or on the streets, or at private social occasions. We won’t find the smokers who never go out any more, and only smoke at home.

Finally, this won’t be my survey. It’ll be a co-operative effort. I’ll do some bits, and others will do others. My aim will be not to overload anyone (myself first and foremost).

Anyway, those are my thoughts for today. Over to you. And remember, the more volunteers the better.

*Current volunteer list: Iro Cyr, R, Waltc, Lecroix, RooBeeDoo, gimper30, garyk, nisakiman, Frank.

Further volunteers:  Mentesabiertas, Smoking Hot.

About Frank Davis

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57 Responses to Social Impact Survey

  1. Pingback: Drinking and smoking – time to make a stand. | underdogs bite upwards

  2. Iro says:

    I am reading you and following this closely Frank. So far I have no problem with your first draft, will jump in if I see something that needs commenting.
    Thanks.

  3. Greece may soon bail the EU! Its been suggested today!

  4. Greek left attacks ‘barbarous’ austerity

    However, in an unusually blunt intervention, Jörg Asmussen, a European Central Bank executive board member, for the first time raised the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro – an option the ECB had previously refused to acknowledge in public.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/bd6fda08-9923-11e1-9a57-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1uKzRq86u

  5. R says:

    I don’t know how you can word this or if you think its important but the overall withdrawal of spending ANYWHERE has been my response to the ban.
    This hasn’t just effected pubs, its everything from M&S to the taxi home.
    I even only buy Kindle books now instead of the High St, and if George Osborne is rubbing his hands at 20% VAT on Ebooks he can forget it, 20% of £0.0p is about nothing……..

  6. waltc says:

    Do you approve of the smoking ban? [love it][+2] [+1] [0] [-1] [-2] [hate it]
    What effect has it had on your social life? [+3 better] [+2] [+1] [0] [-1] [-2] [-3 worse]
    How often do you now visit pubs and restaurants? [+3 more] [+2] [+1] [ 0] [-1] [-2] [-3]
    How much do you now smoke? [+3 more] [+2] [+1] [ 0] [-1] [-2] [-3]
    Please summarize your response to the ban in one word: ………………………………..

    Random thoughts, FWIW, and ignore me at will (as you will) I think this is too skeletal. I believe smokers will be engaged by the idea of this survey which asks them questions nobody else asks or seems to care about. (Your title for it is right on.) In general, it might not be a bad idea to use Simon Clark’s questions as a model or starting point. And ask Q’s can equally be A’d in a word or a sentence or a paragraph, at the answerer’s choice.

    Unless, of course, you mean that if the smoker goes on and on about the effect on his social life, that the surveyor just boils it down into checking off better or worse.? ? Tho, in any case, to most of your questions, there ought to be a 3rd choice: “the same” and my impulse would be to attempt to quantify the “better” or “worse” into things like “a little worse” “a lot worse”. I’d also modify Q2 to be “what effect, IF ANY, has it had…” Or the even more open and neutral: “Have the bans affected your social life?” (Your original q presumes it’s had an effect and asks what the effect has been.)

    Same with Q 3: More direct, clear, detailed: “Since the ban, do you go to bars and restaurants more often? the same as before? less often? rarely? not at all?” An extension (if you want to know it) would be to ask approximately About how often did you go before?. How often now.?

    Other things I personally would want to know is (tho not necessarily all of them and not necessarily in these words): What effect, if any, have they had on your work?….Have you gained or lost friendships because of the ban?….Have the bans affected how often you go: To Movies & theatre? Sports events? Museums. Shopping. ,,,.Do you feel the bans have changed you in any way?,,, Have they changed your attitude towards or involvement with your community? (That last one’s a potent q that would interest academics and social engineers).

    Oh. Here in NYC you’d almost have to ask WHICH smoking ban. We’ve now got a ban in parks and beaches too. Then you’ll find some who’ll feel, for instance, that it’s ok in restaurants but not bars so a halfway “approval” could tilt the response. Then too, isn’t “how do you feel about the smoking bans?” is a little more neutral and less leading than using the word “approve.”

    I will not be insulted if you disagree with my approach, which has come from the top of my head, and no need to explain why if you do.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think you make very good points. And I can well understand how some people could easily become pretty garrulous. I’ve seen it happen.

      But on the other hand, lots of questions are likely to slow the process. And the way I see it, smokers are busy people, as stressed and harassed as anyone (more so these days), and I find myself wondering how I’d react if I was asked these questions myself. Maybe I’d be gratified. But equally I might be annoyed, and want nothing to do with it. So I tend to think that the quicker it can be done, the better.

      However, I can’t see any reason why a pollster shouldn’t get talking to smokers, if he/she is so minded. And make mental notes or actual notes of what they say, and ask them any number of ancillary questions, and in fact do a whole sub-poll within the poll if they want to.

      So, yes, it’s skeletal. But I think we really should try to keep it minimal. But there’s no reason why people shouldn’t do a lot more if they want to.

      In this respect I had another thought late last night, which was that the poll might be an opportunity not just to ask a few questions, but to hand out a bit of information – like the websites of Forces, F2C, Forest. i.e. a way of helping smokers. The survey could also be seen as a recruiting drive.

      But once again that’s not the primary objective.

      • michaeljmcfadden says:

        Frank, I’d agree with Walt that the survey could be a bit longer. Six to eight questions, potentially answered just by check boxes, would take most folks little more than a minute or so (Check boxes are faster AND easier to grade than graduated lines). Offering a blank line or two for comment under each would allow those who want to expand some degree of opportunity to do so and provide material for future write up. I’d go with letting them fill it in themselves (hand it to them on a clipboard with a pen attached by string and carried/inserted at the top when not active) as it would speed the process up and encourage them to be more candid. The clipboard also makes the pollster look more official: people won’t shy away thinking they’re just being approached by someone begging for loose change.

        I’d also offer an space at the bottom for them to print their name, address, and email address or phone (with that area clearly marked as “OPTIONAL – for potential verification only”) and a check box for “I’d like occasional email updates on this survey and F2C actions.” Why would I do this? Simply because it moves the whole operation a significant click upward toward a true, checkable, scientific survey. Without that potential checkability anyone who disagrees with your results can simply say, “Yeah, he made the numbers up.” BUT… if perchance your results ever got a high profile in the media or politically and a significant number of the respondents had ID’d themselves, a neutral “checker” (e.g. a reporter or a hired neutral organization) could check a sample to see if those people actually existed and had filled out those answers). And, of course, having email addies for a few hundred new supporters for future campaigns could never hurt! :>

        Re handing out more info and establishing more contacts: that may not be the “main objective” but both are most certainly worthwhile add-ons. The time/energy expended in the survey process by the people involved will be considerable: every penny’s worth (heh, in invisible pennies unfortunately — we don’t have the Antis’ luxury of paying $2 apiece for gathering petition signature names) ((That’s how they swing it here in the States btw: millions of dollars in grants from groups like the American Cancer Society to “buy” signatures through paid gatherers at about $2 apiece.)) — but, as I was saying, adding extra stuff like handing out a bit of info and getting email contacts will only add about 5% to the time/effort involved but will double or triple the overall value of the effort.

        Also: my guess is that most form filling will take place in clusters of smokers either standing outside together or gathered in a smokey-drinkey situation, so the time involved with talking/discussing/proselytizing may go up or down.

        And finally, from my years of doing similar work with peace groups in the US: it helps a LOT if people can pair up for moral support!

        :)
        MJM

        • You raised some very good points there: about the option of including name and contact details for verification (but only if they want to) and the option of subscribing to updates. I also think on the bottom of the page, we could list some of the websites that you mentioned, i.e. Forces, Freedom 2 Choose, etc.
          Although the main purpose of the survey is social impact, I think it’s very important to make smokers aware that there are lots of websites and blogs that aim to get to the truth of the matter, provide moral support, and are lots of fun to read!
          I’ve designed a mock-up survey, but it’s on a word document and I can’t seem to convert it into a format which can be posted on a blog site such as this. Any technical advice on that matter would be very greatly appreciated.
          Many thanks.

        • Frank Davis says:

          email it to me at cfrankdavis (at) googlemail (dot) com, and I’ll see what I can do with it.

  7. smokervoter says:

    What a fantastic woman Iro Cyr is, and all wrapped up in just 6 letters.

    I wrote an article on my site “Salute to Canada” around the time of the Olympics there. I think an added impetus was that I’m a big fan of Old Rambler’s easy-going, straight up writings.

    I included links to various counter-paternalist Canadian sites – include C.A.G.E. But like my ever flawed self, after posting it I seldom visited it. Big mistake. What a terrific organization it is.

    From Iro’s expressive personal introduction to the article on cycle helmets I’m in hog heaven. So nice to know there’s people like them around. The nanny state started with helmets. And with it went one of my absolute passions in life – motorcycles.

    Then on their link list I found an excellent heretofore undiscovered blog called LieberalDictators (love that name, here I thought I coined that one) with another gem of an article about another pet peeve of mine – construction safety inspectors.

    The author even mentions the absurdity of “Workers are protected by hardhats, work boots and safety vests in an open muddy field against the showering of meteors or bird droppings…”

    I watched a television show now too long ago with the host interviewing his guest out in the middle of absolute nowhere in the California desert in full safety regalia and I thought the same thing. Tobacco hysteria, the Terror of Obesity and the entire Elfin Safety mania have ruined our current epoch – hopefully not irreparably.

    Only been to Canada on one occasion and for only three glorious sunny days in Vancouver (just like they said, it’s the California of Canada) back in the 70’s. Met hundreds of wintering Canuck’s when I lived in Mazatlan, Mexico. Even had a Canadian girlfriend for a time down there. A lot more mature and gutsy than their American counterparts I felt at the time. And they could drink you right under the table.

    Anyway, Viva! Canada, Old Rambler, C.A.G.E and Iro Cyr. The nanny state must be completely dismantled, and in our lifetime.

    • Iro says:

      Well thank you smokervoter! Happy to see that someone recognizes all the effort I put in exposing the truth. As long as I didn’t totally expose the ”healthists” (to use a polite word) I will never rest.

  8. Some more thoughts:

    -Speed and simplicity. It should take a minute or less per person. Totally agree.
    -Those polled should fill in the questionnaire themselves if possible. It is less stressful than being questioned by a stranger and places them in a position of power.
    -Only approach those already smoking (or known to smoke) and only do it while the pollster is smoking him/herself. I think this is a MUST. Otherwise those polled will inmediately suspect the poll is yet another way to try to harrass them.
    -Age, sex, place and even married/not married are so helpful, the poll would not mean much without such data. Totally agree.
    -True, polling outside the pub will not find those (like me) that avoid pub, restaurants, etc. One way around is to poll people walking down the street with a cig in hand, but I find that a bit intrusive, since the person is clearly on his/her way to somewhere. Maybe social networks?
    -I agree with waltc in that “do you approve of the smoking ban?” is a bit imprecise. But if we break it down into categories (bars, restaurants, hotels, parks, etc) it might get messy. Since there is a scale from -3 to +3, the person polled will probably find a figure that represents his/her global position on the issue. I also think the word “approve” leads to a more positive response. “Feel” is more neutral.
    -How to choose volunteer pollsters in order to avoid “moles”. I am always concerned about “moles” in facebook. When it comes to accepting someone new, I do a background search. Has this person posted before in places I know? Was I in agreement with those posts?. Do we share “friends” that I know to be trustworthy? What comes up if I google this person’s name?. This limits posibilities, but enhances results, IMHO.

    • Frank Davis says:

      There’s also, in your case, the question of translating the questionnaire into Spanish.

      Social networks are fine. If you know people who are smokers, that’s great.

      I don’t think the ‘mole’ problem arises except if there are lots of volunteers. Anyway, I’ll be emailing everyone who has volunteered. I may set up another WordPress site purely for discussions among the pollsters once things get rolling.

  9. Hi Frank
    This is a brilliant idea. I’d be happy to help out as a pollster. I live in South East London/Kent border. I very rarely go into central London but I could cover the local pubs in my area: Woolwich, Thamesmead, Erith & Bexleyheath.
    Regarding questions to ask, I agree there should be simple check box type questions as you suggested but I also think the questionnaire should allow for more detailed answers – if the respondent wishes. I’ve worked in market research before and I’ve often found that once people have agreed to take part in a survey, particularly if it interests them, they love to talk! And as I think this survey will certainly be of interest because well, nobody else seems to want to listen to the smoker’s point of view.
    I would suggest a simple set of questions along the lines of Simon Clark’s survey, using a check box system and ratings as you suggested such as ‘totally disagree’ to ‘totally disagree’, ect., and then give them the choice of giving any other comments if they wish, (when designing the questionnaire, leave enough space under each question to note comments).
    Another possibility would be to give the respondents extra questionnaires which they could pass on to others and give them the option of emailing their responses (to save on postage).
    Well, that’s just a few of my thoughts and ramblings! If you want to take any of this on board, great. But I won’t be offended if you don’t.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I looked at Simon Clark’s questions quite closely: For interest, here they are:

      Have you adapted to the ban? If so, how?
      Has your social life changed since the ban?
      Do you go to pubs as often as you did before?
      If not, where do you drink and smoke?
      Has your local pub made an effort to accommodate smokers?
      Would it make a difference if it did or would you still feel unwelcome?
      Do you feel less or more strongly about the ban five years on?
      Etc etc. Any other comments welcome.

  10. Second thoughts: Just read Lecroix Kwdjer’s comment – totally agree with the idea of letting respondents complete the questionnaires in their leisure time. But I think it’s very important that they shouldn’t have to pay for postage, so I suggest asking them to email their responses and individual pollsters could give them their email address to reply.

  11. Smoking Hot says:

    We’d happily do it for you. We come across many smokers on our travels.

    Suggest you add questions such as:-

    Do you smoke in cars?
    Do you smoke in cars with children present?
    What made you start smoking? …peer pressure? glitzy packets? blah blah
    Where do you buy your cigarettes/tobacco? … UK retailers? Abroad? White Van Man?

    Try to cover the many myths put out by ASH etc.

    Yes, be personal on age, gender etc but make it optional.

    Regards,
    SH

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, since the aim is to look at Social Impact, I think this might be straying off target. But as I said to Walt, once the principal questions have been asked, there’s no reason why they can’t be supplemented with additional questions.

  12. RooBeeDoo says:

    I have signed up to conducting the survey. Perhaps some info about me and who and how I intend to survey will help other readers considering helping out but give it a go. I live in Southend and work for a firm employing a couple of thousand employees across the country. I intend to ask my smoking colleagues if they would complete the survey and whether they would be willing to ask those smokers they know and work with if they will complete the survey too. There is also a contingent of smokers within the building were my office is and I will be asking them for their views and help. All my family smokes and I know that they will help (they know how strongly I feel about the smoking ban). I have good links with the taxi trade in town so will be approaching them too to try and canvas as many smokers as possible. I’m also going to approach my local corner shop to ask if they wouldn’t mind me approaching their tobacco customers (now supermarkets have hidden away their tobacco products causing long queues, it would be good to approach those waiting and ask them if they would like to take part).

    Ideally, I’d like the survey to be contained on one page of A4. I would like it to ask for a) name b) age c) sex d) town, e) how they have smoked f) has your social life changed since the 2007 ban on smoking in public places and g) further comment/statement.

    It might be easier to use year ranges for both the age question and length of time being a smoker (i.e. for age: 18 – 25, 26 – 40, 41 – 55, 56 – 70, 70+. For how long have you been a smoker: less than a year, 1 – 5 years, 5 – 20 years, 20+). Also would it be okay to just give a first name or complete name as some people might not want to give their full name.

    I am happy to abide by the final decision on the questions. I am itching to get going on this as soon as possible.

  13. Bob Johnson says:

    It should be done during the winter on a cold, blustery day.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Actually, I was thinking that right now is the ideal time to be putting together a survey, because it’s summer in the UK and America and Europe, and smokers will be more abundant and visible on the streets.

  14. nisakiman says:

    I don’t know if this will apply to anyone (not UK based) but me,

    I will be polling both native Greeks and also expat Brits, of which there are quite a few here.

    Obviously, the Brits will be thinking more about the situation in UK (most of them visit family fairly regularly) rather than here, and the Greeks will probably say that they are unaffected, which is true, since the ban is almost universally ignored here. I think it would be relevant to separate the two sets of answers, or perhaps for the expat Brits add the rider: “In the UK” to the questions. (Or on the other hand, “here in Greece”, whatever) so as not to confuse the issue. The first and last questions are not region specific, but the others are, to a greater or lesser extent.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Makes sense. Are you able to translate a questionnaire into Greek, and write it and print it?

      • nisakiman says:

        Κανένα πρόβλημα.

        Which means “No problem”. I have a Greek keyboard and can switch between Greek and English with a click of the mouse. I can do the questions in both Greek and English, one under the other, with a single check-box probably, so there’s no confusion your end. Depends on the format of the questionnaire.

        • lysistratatheoriginal says:

          Yes Nisikiman, I too will be asking people here in Greek and English – but it’s easily adapted. Also, we get a lot of UK holidaymakers here who are only to happy to chat about smoking bans.
          And I do go back to the UK every few months.
          Er, Frank, I think I’ve just signed up as another volunteer. OK? Please add me to your invites to the new private blog.

  15. Frank Davis says:

    I think it would be a good idea to set up a new blog dedicated to the Social Impact Survey. I don’t want this one to become dominated by that survey. The new blog will be just for people who are carrying out the survey, or who are involved with it in some other way. I think it best if it’s a private, invite-only blog. There we can carry on the discussions, as well as report back when the survey gets under way.

    So I’ve created http://socialimpactsurvey.wordpress.com/ as a private blog, and I suggest that all volunteers bookmark it. I’ll send out invitations to join it, probably later on today.

  16. Frank Davis says:

    I’ve sent invitations to everyone who has volunteered. Also to Leg-iron because he looks like he wants to survey his friends in Scotland.

  17. mummybest says:

    Frank.
    I love the idea of the survey. Unfortunately I would not quite understand the questions if I were asked.. For instance the question about visiting pubs/restaurants. I never have visited either since the ban. So would I be a ‘0’ or ‘-3’ ?? I am not sure what the minus figures represent. Sorry to be thick !!
    My only other concern is that the survey will not reach the people that are the most affected by the ban. These folk (like myself) are virtual recluses now and do not go out except for necessary items. Perhaps there could be a section for us recluses to take part ?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Those are both valid points.

      In the case of the first one, I’m actually proposing that the checkboxes have words in them rather than numbers – e.g. a lot more, a bit more, same, a bit less, a lot less, never – . It was just that I couldn’t fit them all on one line.

      In the case of the second one, I’d already thought of it. But you’re right that there ought to be a ‘never’ option.

      • Rose says:

        I’d have to be in the recluse section, if I even mention the word the tobacco to the rest of my family the steely glint in their eyes warns me into silence.

  18. ladyraj says:

    I finally out how to respond in wordpress versus the FB account…duh! :-)
    I’d be glad to help out too!

  19. Frank Davis says:

    You’re volunteering to do some polling? I’ll send you an invite.

    And I’ve just relaxed the requirement to log in.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If I may make a suggestion about the subjects “response” , Frank.
    Drop the scale +3…..0…..-3 and use instead a 100mm line (10cm).
    This will give a graded response, easily converted into a percentage figure by measuring the subjects “response line” from the LHS of the 100mm line.

    The start and end of the 100mm line are the extremes of feeling about the question being asked.
    The LHS=absolutely love it/no difference, the RHS=absolutely F****** hate it/catastrophic difference, with all the shades of grey inbetween expressed as a percentage figure.

    Just a thought.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It’s an attractive idea. Provides great flexibility. And uses less words and space. There’s no reason that the line be 10 cm long.

      The problem comes with reading the result. I’m expecting to be sent words and numbers, not images or lines. So the pollster would have to measure the length of the line, and the distance along it marked, and divide the latter by the former. That’s a bit of an ask.

      However, a variant might be to have a 10 cm line with the centimetres marked on it like on a ruler, and numbered -5 to +5. That way the pollster just has to read off where the line is marked at, say, -1.5.

      It would also need the person being polled to see the line and make their own mark.

  21. reinholdfrombavaria says:

    I myself wouldn’t be a good pollster but I could well imagine that there are others in Germany (especially in the Bundesländers with a total smoking ban as Bavaria or Saarland) who’d like to do this job.
    But I feel fit for translating the questionnaire into decent German when it’s finished.

    When you decide the size of type and paper, please keep in mind that languages other than English often require more space.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ll send you an invite to the new blog, Reinhold. Do you know anyone who might be interested in doing some German polling?

      • reinholdfrombavaria says:

        Well, I’ll keep my ear to the ground.
        Give me a couple of days time and we’ll see.

        Thanks for the invitation!

  22. Frank Davis says:

    Fooling around with the anonymous suggestion. Click on pic for better image.

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  26. truckerlyn says:

    Hi Frank – sorry if I am being a bit dim, but how do I sign up to be a volunteer? I detest this ban and it has had a hugely adverse affect on my life and my relationships.

    Well done, by the way, for taking the time and making the effort to do this,

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  28. churchmouse says:

    Feel free to count me in, Frank. Many thanks.

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