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Is this a reasonable science fair topic?

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:50 pm
by hpfan423
I'm intrested in doing a science fair project on a topic as to whether positive or negative wording in a question affects how a reader answers that question. Is this a feasible topic, and if so do you have any ideas as to how I can test this?

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:13 pm
by Grace

I think this would be a very interesting science fair project. However, you should run it by your teacher(s) first to get it approved.

Could you specify what exactly you mean by positive or negative wording?

You could test this by coming up with two lists of questions. List A would have some with positive wording and some with negative wording. List B would have the same questions, but change the ones that were positive in List A to negative and the List A negative ones to positive.

Then, split your test subjects into two even groups. Let one group answer the questions on List A; let the other group use List B.

Here are some things to figure out. (1) What do you think the controlled, dependent, and independent variables would be? (2) What would your hypothesis be?

Let us know what your teacher says, and post back with further questions if you have any. :)


Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:37 pm
by Willz

When you say positive and negative wording, are you referring to positive and negative connotations of words? If you are, then I would suggest that you create two sets of questions as Grace mentioned, but administer both sets to the same person to see if his/her responses differ or not. Make sure you test more than one person, however, as this will help your data collection.

Good luck!

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:51 am
by TroyPercival
I remember reading a medical research on this topic. There were two groups of patients (control and variable) requiring surgical procedures and they were present with consent form for their procedure. One group was given consent form using positive wording (there will be a 90% chance the procedure will be successful); while the other group receive negative wording consent (there will be a 10% chance the procedure will fail). The result was more patients consent to the procedure when positive wording were use. I believe you can create a questionnaire, have your control group answer questions with positive wording, while the variable group answers questions with negative wording.

For example:

Will you bet $1000 to win $2000 if your chance of winning is 70%?
Will you bet $1000 to win $2000 if your chance of losing is 30%?

Hope this help!