Avoid ambiguous or loaded words and sentences

It goes without saying that any elements that might make the language of the items unclear or ambiguous need to be avoided. The most notorious of such elements are:

• Nonspecific adjectives or adverbs (e.g., good, easy, many, sometimes, often).

• Items containing universals such as 'all,' 'none,' 'never.'

• Modifying words such as 'only,' 'just,' 'merely' - these should be used with moderation.

• Words having more than one meaning.

• Loaded words (e.g., 'democratic,' 'modern,' 'natural,' 'free,' etc.), because they may elicit an emotional reaction that may bias the answer.

It is also obvious that loaded questions such as "Isn't it reasonable to suppose that ... ? " or "Don 'tyou believe that... ? " are likely to bias the respondent toward giving a desired answer and should be rephrased in a neutral way.

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