Interaction as Conventional Structure

by Kieran Healy on April 9, 2006

From Erving Goffman to Jim Henley and his commenters.

Raise your hand if you are not here

by Eszter Hargittai on April 9, 2006

On a flight I was taking the other day, passengers were asked to fill out a survey. I question the utility of such an instrument given that the feedback was mostly about satisfaction with the crew who likely knew that the survey would be administered and thus may not have been going about their business as usual. I took one to fill out, because I am always curious to see how surveys are constructed.

I found the following question puzzling:

In-flight survey question

The survey was only available in English as far as I could tell. They cetainly didn’t announce any alternatives in English or any other language. This question was on the third of four pages. Assuming the question is about one’s English abilities, does it make sense to assume that anyone needing language assistance would’ve gotten to the third page of the survey? And even if they had, how reliable would their responses be?

Or am I missing something and is there some other type of language assistance one might need? I doubt that if a hearing-impaired passenger needed some type of assistance they would refer to that as “language assistance”. So what’s the point of this question?