How font impacts responses in online surveys, here some insights

Tim Harford, economist and author of the book ‘Messy: How To be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World’ believes that ugly fonts like Comic Sans or Monotype Corsiva help you concentrate on what you are reading.

“When you get something in these fonts – it’s ugly, difficult to read, and it attracts your attention. When you have your attention, then you actually start trying to understand what it says,” he told Business Insider.

Harford referred to a study run by psychologists at Princeton University where school teacher’s handouts were reformatted in either easy to read or harder fonts.

“Those who got their handouts formatted in difficult, ugly fonts did better in their end of term exams across a variety of subjects.”

Produced and filmed by Claudia Romeo. Special thanks to Joe Daunt.


Tableau, the software that could potentially replace excel for doing data analysis

Confirmit: example of an advance online survey platform

Does mass media shape public opinion and dominant discourse regarding policy issues? Do press and public opinion converge over time?


“We sampled and analyzed media portrayals of the Dead Sea Water Canal from the Israel national Ha´aretz newspaper along the two time periods. We then undertook synchronic (comparative simultaneous depictions) and diachronic (historically-sensitive sequences of representations) analyses to examine these portrayals within as well as accross these periods. Ha´aretz is the oldest daily newspaper in Israel and the main stage for intelectual and policy debates in Israel (Viser, 2003). Its articles are commonly used when aiming at “elite” or “quality” press (Nossek, 2004) and therefore it serves our purpose to reflect the dominant discourse regarding policy issues. Moreover, the media outlet was selected in part due to the availability of news archives across the full period of study: from the 1970s to the present. It has been well documented and importantly cautioned elsewhere that the approach of analyzing newspaper articles carries several weakness and biases (e.g. Boykoff, 2011). Specific to this study, Ha´aretz newspaper is considered a liberal newspaper that may represent an agenda different from those of other national newspapers (e.g. Carvalho, 2007)

Fischhendler, I., Cohen-Blankshtain, G., Shuali, Y., & Boykoff, M. (2013). Communicating mega-projects in the face of uncertainties: Israeli mass media treatment of the Dead Sea Water Canal. Public Understanding of Science, 0963662513512440.

Public opinion can in fact not be measured by surveys alone, but media analysis contributes as some sort of proxy of what actors, who for example read newspaper, deem to be “the public opinion” and that “the mass media circulates images and arguments widely and thereby inform public perceptions” (Bauer, 2005a, p. 10). Combining media analysis, focus group, and surveys, Bauer (2005b, p. 63) found a “strong convergence of press and opinion over time”.

Even if media attention does not translate directly into opinion changes (Matthes and Schemer, 2012), it is still foreseeable that media articles impact (1) the importance attributed to the particular issue (agenda setting) of the public debate and (2) how the issue is dealt with, the discourses that develop around the relevant technology, and an issue that is either emphasized or minimized (framing process). While the first factor focuses on the quantity of available information, how often an issue is covered by media articles, and how the attention cycle of a certain issue develops, the second is interested in the substantive content of these articles, the broader storylines, the narratives, and the issues´sociocultural resonance that makes them attractive to journalists and readers (Scheufele and Tewskbury, 2007). Framing means to focus on an issue, select certain aspects of it and make them more salient, and finally, help, influence, or persuade the readers to understand what is at stake (Entman, 1993; Gamson and Modigiliani, 1989; Scheufele, 1999). This “twist” that journalist give the story makes it interesting. Druckman and Bolsen (2011, p. 673) using an experimental approrach can illustrate that in essence, “facts add little to frames when it comes to influencing individuals” opinions about new technologies”. It is not primarily whether the article is positive or negative; it is rather the broader context to which the issue is related (Matthes and Schemer, 2012; Nisbet, 2009). By focusing on certain aspects, other facets are of course muted or excluded.

To frame an issue, journalists rely on information they obtain from different sources in order to report news that is as realistic and objective as possible. They have a code of ethics that provides guidelines on how to deal with contradictory, uncertain, partial, or biased informaiton and how to balance the actors´ different views and often conflicting interests.

Framing is exactly how stakeholders or social movements can impact media coverage; trying to frame an issue ata an angle that meets their interests helps them promote their perspective and position (Andsager, 2000; Benford and Snow, 2000)…Of course, stakeholders have different levels of agency and power (Carrage and Roefs, 2004); some can organize media conferences, send out press releases, or invite the media to a publicly appealing event, while other issues are generally only addressed when a journalist has a specific request or question to be answered. 

Stauffacher, M., Muggli, N., Scolobig, A., & Moser, C. (2015). Framing deep geothermal energy in mass media: the case of Switzerland. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 98, 60-70.

Health and happiness: cross-sectional household surveys in Finland, Poland and Spain



To explore the associations between health and how people evaluate and experience their lives.


We analysed data from nationally-representative household surveys originally conducted in 2011–2012 in Finland, Poland and Spain. These surveys provided information on 10 800 adults, for whom experienced well-being was measured using the Day Reconstruction Method and evaluative well-being was measured with the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Health status was assessed by questions in eight domains including mobility and self-care. We used multiple linear regression, structural equation models and multiple indicators/multiple causes models to explore factors associated with experienced and evaluative well-being.


The multiple indicator/multiple causes model conducted over the pooled sample showed that respondents with younger age (effect size, β = 0.19), with higher levels of education (β = −0.12), a history of depression (β = −0.17), poor health status (β = 0.29) or poor cognitive functioning (β = 0.09) reported worse experienced well-being. Additional factors associated with worse evaluative well-being were male sex (β = −0.03), not living with a partner (β = 0.07), and lower occupational (β = −0.07) or income levels (β = 0.08). Health status was the factor most strongly correlated with both experienced and evaluative well-being, even after controlling for a history of depression, age, income and other sociodemographic variables.


Health status is an important correlate of well-being. Therefore, strategies to improve population health would also improve people’s well-being.

Miret, M., Caballero, F. F., Chatterji, S., Olaya, B., Tobiasz-Adamczyk, B., Koskinen, S., … & Ayuso-Mateos, J. L. (2014). Health and happiness: cross-sectional household surveys in Finland, Poland and Spain. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 92(10), 716-725.

Donald Trump discourse/language analysis

“An individual’s level of personal well-being is strongly related to the level of wealth of the household in which they live”

“Relationship between Wealth, Income and Personal Well-being, July 2011 to June 2012”

This article uses data from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) for July 2011 to June 2012
which, for the first time, included measures of personal well-being. It describes the results of
regression analysis considering the relationships between the total wealth or total income of
the households in which individuals live and their personal well-being. Regression analysis is
a statistical technique which was used to analyse variation in well-being outcomes by specific
characteristics and circumstances of individuals while holding all other characteristics equal.
This allows for a better understanding of what matters most to an individual’s personal well-being
compared to analysis when different factors are considered separately.
Main points
• An individual’s level of personal well-being is strongly related to the level of wealth of the
household in which they live. Life satisfaction, sense of worth and happiness are higher, and
anxiety less, as the level of household wealth increases.
• The levels of household income are less strongly related, with relationships found only with life
satisfaction and sense of worth.
• The net financial wealth of the household appears to be the type of wealth most strongly
associated with personal well-being. In particular, life satisfaction will be higher in households
with greater net financial wealth.
• Levels of property wealth and private pension wealth were not found to be related levels of
personal well-being.