I sometimes wonder where they find people for surveys; Family Feud doesn’t seem to have much trouble finding 100 people to answer questions, but when headlines like “1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD, study finds,” I scratch my head a bit. It starts to feel like more or less a dart throw.
A quick read helps to understand why – people were given words and a multiple choice answer. Many people aren’t familiar with what HTML is (markup language that helps to define what you see on the web), so 10 percent guessed wrong. There’s other funny ones on there, but it doesn’t really explain how many people know what it really is; it just shows that, at least for this question, a minimum of 10 percent of the people are simply bad guessers.
It’s a fun read and good for a laugh. But it also helps explain how some studies are just poorly constructed.