A question stem is the part of the survey question that presents the issue about which the question is asking. With closed-ended questions, the stem can perhaps best be defined as the first half of a survey question that consists of two parts: (1) the wording or text that presents the issue the respondent is being asked to consider (along with any instructions, definitions, etc.) and (2) the answer options (response alternatives) from which a respondent may choose.

Survey researchers must strive to craft question stems that meet a number of important criteria. First and foremost, question stems must be written so that, to the degree that this can be controlled, all respondents understand the question being posed to them as meaning the same thing. If ...

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