• What kinds of organisations want to find out about people’s opinions?
Thank you for allowing me to answer such an important question. Usually, different organisations need peoples’ opinion over diversified issues and I think the government, advertising agencies or research organisations require the opinions most. If we consider the governmental issue, it is found that the government is always formulating some sort of rules or policies for the betterment of the people and to get a mass consent from the people for the better implementation of the rules or policies, it requires public opinions. Secondly, the advertising agencies require public opinions before or after launching any of their projects or products. Without a massive feedback from the targeted audience, it is impossible to expect the success of any products. Moreover, often the research organisations require public opinions to get informed about any specific issues they are involved with.
• Do you think that questionnaires or surveys are good ways of finding out people’s opinions?
I have a different opinion about questionnaires or surveys undertaken to get public opinions. I think in most of the cases, the exact information is not found in such surveys or interviews with questionnaires. It happens as most of the time the questions cannot represent the actual situations or they are unable to depict the entire scenario to the interviewees. Often the questions are made with wrong consideration and as a result, the exact answers are not found. Sometimes, the questions are too private to answer for the respondents and they turn reluctant in such situations, and if they are insisted on answering, they may provide wrong information which will damage the research. I think, not taking is the best ways to collect people’s opinions. In such cases, a team of two individuals is appointed to talk with the people and note down the speeches.
• What reasons might people have for not wanting to give their opinions?
As I said before that some questions are too private to answer. People usually try to avoid such questions and do not want to provide the exact opinions. Sometimes there are few questions related to the governmental policies and they also do not want to opine on the issues as those are potentially harmful to them. Besides, people do not want to share their information or opinion fearing that those issues may be publicised with their names. It is impossible to provide positive feedbacks most of the times and if those are publicised, they may have some detrimental impacts on their surroundings. Another important reason, I think, is that the data collectors’ failure to convince people over providing information during the data collection period. Since the data collectors are hired on a temporary basis, most of them are unskilled and non-professional and cannot represent the importance of the data collection process.
• Do you think it would be a good idea for schools to ask students their opinions about lessons?
Umm, yes, I think it would be a great idea. Most of the students do not want to learn lessons at home for several reasons and accordingly cut a sorry figure in their exams. A participatory environment could remove the problem to the greatest extent. If the students are asked to opine about their lessons, I think, they would tell about their problems. The most important thing here is that the kids do not want to feel ashamed about their lessons and thereby if they do not understand anything, they remain silent or do not express their inability to understand the topic lest the entire class laugh at him/ her. So, if opinions could be asked for their lessons, they will gladly participate in the process to avoid the complexities of feeling ashamed.
• What would the advantages for schools be if they asked students their opinions?
There would be different advantages if the students are asked to describe their opinions. The first and important advantage, appears to me, is that they will be able to express their preferences. Some of the lessons might be difficult indeed for them and if the teacher asks questions from that specific lesson, there are chances that the students will fail to answer the questions and as a direct consequence, their scores will go down. Besides, if they are asked to opine, they will perform the lessons without any excuse. They would not have the chance to place any objections over the lessons as they decided that earlier. Moreover, when the school authority will ask students about their opinions, the students will start thinking that they are being evaluated by the school authority. It is helpful to expand their mental faculty. These are the few advantages if the school authorities ask about the opinions of the students.
• Would there be any disadvantages in asking students’ opinions?
Well, there might be some disadvantages in this case as well as nothing in the world is without disadvantages. In line with the good performers in a class, there are some naughty students as well who are always looking for chances to make a mess around. So, when the school authorities ask to opine about something, the naughty students try to take advantage of such events. They never agree with the other ordinary students and try to create a chaos in the class. Besides, there are some students, who believe them to be the best of the class, pushing their nose over the issues frequently and hardly allow the other ordinary students to express their opinions. So, asking opinions to the students is not always effective. But another issue should be considered that the opinion seeking is effective for the lower grade as they are not that much wild like the upper-grade students.