Re: greenyes-d Digest V00 #213

From: Roger Guttentag (
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 14:34:58 EDT

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    Dear Blair:

    I feel compelled to respectively disagree with you regarding the usefulness
    of surveys. The problem of getting truthful survey responses due to social
    desireability bias you refer to you in message below is a well known problem
    in survey design, going well beyond recycling issues. There are books and
    courses on survey design that discuss all variations of survey approaches
    for getting truthful answers (not to mention survey completion). Well
    designed surveys may be very helpful in diagnosing participation problems or
    confirming reasons for why they occur. With respect to recycling education
    and outreach, surveys can help you understand, for example, how people
    generally get their information or how effective certain messages were. If
    a survey fails to provide the information you need, you need to at least ask
    1)Did you use the right type of survey (mail, telephone or in-person), 2)Was
    the design properly designed? and 3)was it properly implemented? A really
    well done survey is neither simple to do nor necessarily an inexpensive


    Roger M. Guttentag

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Blair Pollock <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 12:50 PM
    Subject: Re: greenyes-d Digest V00 #213

    Katy regarding surveys to find out if people recycle, unfortunately, they
    lie because they know they should be recycling. A door to door survey we
    conducted in a low-particiation area 80%+ reported that they were recycling
    but a check of curbside recycling setouts for a month showed <50% were
    recycling at the curb. THerefore, I am not certain of the usefulness of

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