A balanced question is one that has a question stem that presents the respondent with both (all reasonably plausible) sides of an issue. The issue of "balance" in a survey question also can apply to the response alternatives that are presented to respondents. Balanced questions are generally closed-ended questions, but there is nothing inherently wrong with using open-ended questions in which the question stem is balanced.

For example, the following closed-ended question is unbalanced for several reasons and will lead to invalid (biased) data:

Many people believe that American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible. Do you Strongly Agree, Agree, Somewhat Agree, or Strongly Disagree?

First, the question stem presents only one side of the issue in that it notes only one position taken ...

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