But the city’s manager of planning Alex Forbes said the survey, written by city staff, isn’t trying to steer respondents to any particular conclusions.
“We attempted to write the survey in a manner that didn’t necessarily indicate that this was a preferred direction. It was to try to get all sides of the issue,” Forbes said.
As to the lack of an option to suggest the city limit short-term rentals to owner-occupied residences, Forbes said the goal wasn’t to spend “reams and reams of time” developing a “perfect” survey.
Alex Forbes gives the classic excuse when facing criticism over his departments research effort. The effort looks to be very weak and poorly written.
I would be the first to admit that I am not an expert in this particular form of research but I have prepared enough research plans to know when I see a weak effort. Personally, I have found the utility of surveys to be rather limited – you get so much more useful data from qualitative methods – and thus I can count the number of times I have written a survey on one hand.
I do know they have value, like other quantitive methods, in their ability to draw some general conclusions.
With an issue as important as this I would expect that the people who produced this survey, who may very well not have much research expertise, might do what many designers or engineers do when faced with a task for which they are unfamiliar, study and ask for help (hello stack overflow). We don’t all have the luxury of focusing on any one skill for an extended period of time, so the willingness to learn as you go, in order to best serve the goals of your project is essential. And as with any research effort, it’s also helpful to gain feedback from various stakeholders, and do a trial, to test the effectiveness of your research design.
Here are a few links which they could have started with, which took me all of 5 minutes to find on google: