PCA Reader Survey - what do you think?.

  anchor 08:55 16 Nov 2004

Lat week I received an e-mail asking me to participate in a PCA reader survey. One of the questions asked what is the annual family income.

I was not prepared to answer this but, unlike some other surveys, there was not an option to decline to answer. As a result, in order to continue, I was forced to make a meaningless entry. I sent an e-mail to Tracy Friend of IDG with my comments, but have not received a response.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 13:19 16 Nov 2004

Can't see why giving the family income, in a survey, is a problem. If you do not like the question don't answer the survey.


  anchor 13:38 16 Nov 2004

I fully appreciate I could have abandoned the survey, but surely that is not the question I raised.

It is one thing to ask about the world of computers, but it a personal intrusion to insist on knowing about income. Is there anyone out there who is perfectly happy to give this information to IDG, (and then perhaps find its been passed to others). Why do they wish to know?.

I suggest that PCA avoid this question in future surveys, or give an option to decline to answer.

  Shas 15:39 16 Nov 2004

I totally agree with you Anchor. The only time your income has anything to do with someone else is if you are applying for a loan or credit card etc., and you have to show you are good for the debt.

Why ask the question? Just so that they could say that 8 out of 10 people surveyed, with an income of £x p.a., spent £y on computer equipment? Who really cares.

  recap 16:24 16 Nov 2004

It is becoming a general trend to ask this question on surveys.

I think it is a way of determining what working background you would come under. This in turn gives a general idea as to whom is buying what or who can afford to buy what.

  Cook2 16:56 16 Nov 2004

I think it is a way of determining what working background you would come under?

Not nowadays surely, I know a plumber who earns more than we here GP's earn.

  Shas 17:05 16 Nov 2004

Also, determining a person's working background might indicate what they can afford to buy, but not necessarily what they will end up buying whether they can actually afford it or not. (My daughter can't really afford more shoes but it doesn't stop her buying them!)

If they just want to know who's buying what and for how much, surely they could get similar results if they asked approximately how much a person would be prepared to spend on computers or whatever, without asking for details of their annual income.

  pj123 17:24 16 Nov 2004

Everybody knows that any survey, wherever it is from is going to ask personal questions.

I did a temporary job for three days entering data from a survey about a Saab car. I wasn't very happy entering the data as I could see personal data about the person who answered the survey and so could everyone else who was employed to enter this data.

If you don't like the questions, don't answer the survey. Also I have found that you don't have to be accurate/honest with your answers (who knows?)

  Forum Editor 18:13 16 Nov 2004

so I can't be assertive, but did it actually ask for details of your income, or did it (like many surveys) ask you to indicate which of several income brackets you fall into?

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't see the problem if that was the case - nobody is going to know about it, other than someone who collates the information for statistical purposes. You'll never be personally identifiable, and I certainly don't see it as a "personal intrusion" - you cam always opt out of a survey if you aren't happy with a specific question.

Who really cares,Shas? Well, advertisers do, they care very much. Statistical information about incomes is of great interest to the marketing and advertising industries, and that's why surveys ask for such information. It's a fact that the way you spend your disposable income is to a large degree dictated by your social background, by your income bracket, and by where you live.

  sean-278262 21:14 16 Nov 2004

The end of the survey stated clearly that the information Wouldnt be passed to third parties! So only a select few will see the answers, and as they are computerised no one is inputting them anywhere. So why the worry, I gladly do that question every time as so what if people know im a student with little or no income.Surveys can be biased and fixed to give chosen results so a Survey isnt always the best way to get the best view of the public!

On the subject anyway, If Im not happy to answer a question just answer the middle one as it usually is the average persons answer and so will make less of an impact to the overall results! and provide a better result than if people who where not happy with the income question decide to say they are in the top bracket and then the survey gets 5 people in this section and most have lied results in a bad report!

  Buchan 35 22:46 16 Nov 2004

You gave the right answer. Our little ones are going to spend what they want.
FE has added a bit about who cares about these
surveys, but we all should, because our details are passed on to third parties. that is only my opinion so please FE do not ban me from the site.
This is a very contentious subject and folk should be aware of what can happen to very personal information.

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