Would You Like to Take a Survey?

My thoughts as I read the survey BYU recently sent me (twice, when I didn't return it quickly enough the first time they sent it):

Dear Joel,
Congratulations on your 2006 graduation from BYU!

Better late than never, I suppose.

As President of BYU, I invite you to complete our Alumni Questionnaire, which we send to each BYU graduate three years after graduation.

I wouldn't have capitalized "president" in that usage, but whatever. Okay, let's see how you close the letter.

I express appreciation in advance for your participation.

You "express appreciation," eh? Gee, that's almost the same thing as actually saying "thank you." That's like punching someone in the face and saying, "I express my regret." It's also kind of a heavy-handed assumption that I will actually take the time to answer 15 pages worth of questions. At any rate, let's move on and look at some of the content.

Indicate how well each of the following statements describes you now.

As I listen to a speaker, I formulate questions in my mind that I want the speaker to answer in order to clarify what he or she believes and why he or she feels that way.

Well, duh. How could anyone not do that?

I choose and implement reading strategies that fit the type of material I am reading and the purpose for which I am reading.

Of course! I can't so much as scan the headlines on Google News without implementing some sort of strategy.

I am generally happy with my life.

Aside from being guilted into filling out the occasional nosy, hopelessly general survey, sure.

I can describe, interpret, and evaluate works of art in their historical, social, and cultural contexts using relevant aesthetic criteria.

Web comics count, right?

How competent are you in your ability to evaluate proposed cause and effect explanations in terms of believability of other likely causes?

If I could do that, I probably could have prevented you from sending me this stupid survey.


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