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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > August 2016 > MEASURING BIAS

MEASURING BIAS

DO SURVEYS ABOUT LGBT RIGHTS ACCURATELY REFLECT THE TRUTH ABOUT SOCIAL ATTITUDES, ASKS EMILY NORDMAN

This morning I read that the Scottish Episcopal church voted to remove the clause in its law that prevents same-sex marriages due to the “huge change in public attitudes in Scotland”. “Hurrah! I am so proud of my adopted motherland!” I exclaimed as I started painting a rainbow Saltire on my face. I then read another article that told me that in Scotland in 2015-16 there was a 20% increase in reported hate crimes relating to sexual orientation compared to the previous year. As I reached for the face wipes I started wondering about the results of polls that tell us how attitudes are changing and how well they reflect the reality of our experiences.

Having survived both the Scottish Independence and Brexit referendums in less than two years, I’m sure that most of us are acutely aware of, and totally fed up with, the result of attitude surveys and polls. Some are clearly nonsense, or at least, conducted in such a way that renders their results effectively useless. For example, before we knew the result of the EU referen dum, the Daily Express reported that 92% of people wanted to leave the EU. It turned out that what they meant was that 92% of Daily Express readers, readers of a pro-Brexit newspaper, wanted to leave the EU. In fact, we now know the figure was just over half at 51%. How and where you recruit people to answer your questions affects the type of people who take part and the responses they give.

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About DIVA Magazine

Our August issue cover star is former Bake Off contestant Ruby Tandoh. Also in this issue: Brexit: how could leaving the EU affect lesbian and bi women? After Orlando: why the world needs to change Iconic lesbian poet speaks to DIVA about being an outsider Wentworth is back – we speak to your favourite inmates Edinburgh Festival: we select this year's best LGBT shows Eleanor Margolis asks what makes lesbian music sound so, um, lesbian? Berlin: lesbian historian Cyd Sturgess steps through sapphic time in the German culture capital Chitra Ramaswamy on her compelling new book about pregnancy Forget “gaydar” have you got “bi-fi”? Do social attitudes surveys about LGBT people tell us all we need to know? Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.
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