Online studies of moral opinions seem to be popping up all over. Here’s one by Neil Levy that deals with moral relativism. It’s short and fun – although I found some of the answer choices overly restrictive.
After taking quite a few of these, it is clear philosophers interested in polling should study survey methods, consult experts in opinion polling, and anticipate a greater variety of nuanced responses than they usually provide.
Test takers trying to give honest answers often find themselves trapped by a limited set of inappropriate multiple choice responses. A ‘none of the above’ with an optional comment field would be a quick fix for some of these problems, but more needs to be done to make sure studies involving moral cognition accurately reflect participants’ opinions.
It worries me that sloppy research methods may have a negative effect upon the growing field of empirical philosophy. Bad data collection methods will cripple the field, populate journals with useless articles, and marginalize researchers.
Hat tip to Evolving Thoughts for mention of this.