I’m looking for help putting together a questionnaire.

August 26, 2007 | By | 20 Replies More

I’m planning on packing my camcorder and asking a few dozen random people some questions to test their knowledge on various topics.  I’m doing this because I suspect that many people lack basic knowledge regarding important topics.  Other questions are geared to checking people’s attitudes regarding important issues.

Below you can see that I have a list of 20 questions.  If anyone reading this has any suggestions for questions I should use, please suggest them in the comments.   After I finish this survey (which I hope to do within a month, I will publish the results and put some of the resulting video on YouTube.

This is a work in progress for now, so please suggest away . . .

1. Name 3 of your favorite sports stars.
2. What’s the most dangerous country to the US?  What should we do about it?
3. Locate it on a map (lacking country names).
4. What is the world’s most important religion? Why?
5. About how many years ago did dinosaurs last walk on earth?
6. Name the three branches of the U.S. government.
7. When was the American Revolution?  Who did we fight?
8. Why is Albert Einstein famous?
9. Why is the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Important?
10. Who invented the Golden Rule?
11. What is Evolution?
12. What did William Shakespeare do that made him famous?
13. Name a book of the Bible where you can read the Ten Commandments?
14. What’s the official religion of the United States?
15. What is the solar system? What is the closest star to the Earth?
16. Approximately how many times is Jesus mentioned in the U.S. Constitution?
17. Name 3 miracles of Jesus, according to the Bible?
18. When were the Gospels written?  By whom?
19. According to the Bible, did God ever kill babies?
20. If other countries won’t sell us their oil, should the U.S. attack them with our military?

Share

Tags: ,

Category: Education, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (20)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ben says:

    I know you aren't a star trek fan or anything… but the question that finally stumped ol' Spock was: "How do you feel?"

    you could ask how many cups in a quart. How many cups in a gallon. How many days in a year.

    more to follow…

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    But, Ben. I AM a Star Trek fan. And I AM something . . .

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    Other questions: Who won the War of 1812? (Hint: Canadians burned down the White House).

    To whom does the the Second Amendment guarantee the right to bear arms? (Hint: The first 4 words are "A well regulated Militia")

    Penicillin became available in the 1950's, making elective surgery much safer. When did cataract removal surgery become popular? (Ancient Rome.)

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Many of your questions are trick questions, or vaguely worded. For some I know too much, and for others I know too little.

    Most are essay questions, from which it is awfully hard to pull meaningful statistical correlations.

    Here are some of my first impression answers:

    The Golden Rule was first written about as ancient wisdom in cuneiform. We don't even know from which culture it originated, much less a specific person.

    Einstein is famous because he was the most personable of his cohort; camera friendly. His Nobel prize is for describing the photo-electric effect. His most significant overall contribution was applying his radical idea of an absolute constant speed of light to the pre-existing theory of relativity (from which he derived his Special and General relativity theories for velocity and acceleration). His contribution to nuclear power and weaponry was as figurehead and mentor to the crowd of theoreticians and technologists that did the actual development.

    I don't have favorite sports stars, but I probably could recall 3 arbitrary athlete's names.

    I'd say that the most important religion is Zoroastrianism. Although few now practice it directly, it spawned the most virulent of modern religions: Christianity and Islam. Hinduism is probably the most popular religion. I'd bet on some form of Buddhism as the longest lasting, going forward.

    I don't think that the modern Christian 10 Commandments appear in the bible, as such. There are a couple of places that are considered the inspiration for them, though.

    Closest star to Earth: Sol is only light-minutes away. Next comes the Alpha/Proxima/Rigil Centauri triplet (who take turns as next closest).

    Most dangerous country? Caymans? Switzerland? Follow the money funding terrorists, if you can. China and India are both poised to pass us industrially and technologically. Unstable Pacific rim countries are strongholds for Al Qaida, from where they can take back the middle east as soon as a power vacuum opens up.

  5. Ben says:

    What is Britney Spears' ex-husband's name?

    Who is the Quarterback for the Eagles? The Patriots?

    Who is the best golfer ever?

    Who invented the internet?

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Dan: I assume that many people will say the Golden Rule was invented by Jesus.

    For Einstein, I’m looking for something like “He was a scientist.” I suspect that many people won’t know this.

    I’m asking for sports stars because these will roll off peoples’ tongues, showing what they ARE spending their time doing.

    The most important religion will cause many people to say Christianity. A short follow-up question will show they know very little about any other religion.

    The 10 Commandments question is to show that most people who think these are important will think they appear as a list of 10 in the Bible, yet won’t know where.

    The closest star? I think most people will miss Sol.

    Most dangerous country? I’m doing this to then ask “Why?” I think the follow-up will show vast ignorance. I suspect most people won’t know how to identify their choice on a map.

    I know that this has all been done before, but I’d like to videotape it (with their permission) and see what type of footage it makes.

    Ben: I should ask a basic question about the Internet. How about Quarts in a gallon? I think many people will miss this.

    Thanks for the ideas.

  7. Are the Ten Commandments in the book Moses (does he have his own book?)?

    What country is named after Amerigo Vespucci?

  8. Xiaogou says:

    Erich, I believe that the United States of America is probably the most dangerous country to the United States of America as it has demonstrated the ability to irritate everyone else on the globe against it.

  9. Vicki Baker says:

    projektleiterin – the first 5 books in the bible are called the first -fifth books of Moses in German. I think the 10 Commandments are in Exodus (das zweite Buch Mose)

  10. grumpypilgrim says:

    There are actually three different recognized versions of the Decalogue, the one your religion uses depends on whether you are Jewish, Catholic or Protestant. What people call "the 10 Commandments" are culled from a list of more than a dozen found in the book of Exodus. See, e.g., http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_10c4.htm/. See also my previous post about this subject: http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=673/.

  11. grumpypilgrim says:

    Who won the War of 1812 depends on whom you ask. America unsuccessfully invaded Canada to try to stop a wide range of harassing policies of the British — especially Britain's practice of kidnapping Americans and forcing them into military service in Britain's war against Napoleon. America's invasion was unsuccessful, but produced a truce that stopped the kidnappings; thus, both Canada and America claimed victory in the War of 1812.

  12. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Name 4 famous thespians. (most won't know what thespian means)

    Where is the oldest scientifically documented city on the planet (Baghdad)

    What nationality is Osama bin-Laden (Saudi)

    Name any three contestants on a reality show.

    Who is Gabriel Gray? ( Skylar on "Heroes" )

    Who is Hugo Reyes? ( Hurley on "Lost" )

    Who wrote the original book titled "The Art of War" (Sun Tzu)

    What is "The Art of War" About? (many will recall a movie by the same name featuring Wesly Snipes)

    What is the definition of "Liberal"?

    What is the definition of "Conservative"?

    What is anarchism? Is it good or bad? Why?

  13. gatomjp says:

    I quiver in anticipation at seeing the answers you will get! Wish I lived closer so we could do a video montage of all of them!

  14. Ben says:

    Who is on Mount Rushmore?

    Which is bigger, Texas or Alaska?

    What language do they speak in Belgium?

    What countries make up Great Britain? (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales)

  15. Dan Klarmann says:

    The oldest "scientifically documented city" used to be Ur, a city that fell before Uruk was built (called Erech in the bible). That one still predates Baghdad by quite a bit. Now, however, they are even turning up signs of cities that predate the invention of ceramics!

    But Baghdad is currently occupied, as is Mexico City (Tenochtitlan). The oldest continuously occupied structure is Taos Pueblo, arguably a city unto itself.

    Belgium's language is a trick question. I've been to both the Belga and Waloon areas.

    I do like the "definition of" Liberal/Conservative questions, though.

  16. Edgar Montrose says:

    Dan Klarmann wrote: "To whom does the the Second Amendment guarantee the right to bear arms? (Hint: The first 4 words are “A well regulated Militia”)."

    Nonsense.

    Here is the actual text of the Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Let's try a little reductio ad absurdum:

    "A healthy populace, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to access medical care, shall not be infringed." By your logic, only healthy people would be guaranteed access to medical care. Clearly that is not what the sentence means.

    "A prosperous middle-class, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to earn and spend money, shall not be infringed." By your logic, only middle-class people would be guaranteed the right to earn money. Clearly that is not what the sentence means.

    "A successful Olympic team, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to play sports, shall not be infringed." By your logic, only Olympic athletes would be guaranteed the right to play sports. Clearly that is not what the sentence means.

    "Agriculture, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to plant and harvest vegetables, shall not be infringed." By your logic, only farmers would be guaranteed the right to grow vegetables. Clearly that is not what the sentence means.

    "Families, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to bear and keep children, shall not be infringed." By your logic, I'm not sure WHO would be guaranteed the right to have children. Whomever it might be, it is probably not what the sentence means.

  17. grumpypilgrim says:

    The above discussion is starting to remind me of a poster I saw back in college. The poster contained a variety of absurd final exam questions covering various fields of university study. It had questions such as:

    Philosophy: "Summarize and compare the writings of the ten greatest philosophers in Eastern and Western civilization. Explain how their teachings have produced the variety and distribution of beliefs that exist in the world today."

    Biology: "Create life. Explain your process and discuss how it alters current theories of how life might have naturally arisen on our planet."

    Astronomy: "Create a new universe. Compare and contrast it to the known Universe and discuss modifications. Implement the modifications and describe your observations."

    Etc.

  18. Mary says:

    Name three different styles/movements in art.

  19. What country is named after Amerigo Vespucci?

    Actually, it's not a country, but a continent…

    projektleiterin – the first 5 books in the bible are called the first -fifth books of Moses in German. I think the 10 Commandments are in Exodus (das zweite Buch Mose)

    Ok. I remembered very vaguely something about "das Buch Mose".

  20. Erich Vieth says:

    It turns out that most Americans are pretty good at finding the United States on a map. http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2007/08/30/upton/

Leave a Reply