The other day, a lot of faculty folks around here got a questionnaire from a professor at a pretty fancy university in a nearby state. The information said it was for research, and had the usual IRB letter.
And then rumor went around here that the research was being funded by a political policy organization which has been advocating for getting rid of tenure in the Northwoods state system. And even though the letter promised that the information would be confidential, it asked questions about where one had done one's last degree, and elsewhere said that information might be connected with information from public sources. (And in our state, lots of information is public, so I'm not counting on the confidentiality at all.)
Much discussion ensued. (That's how I take notes for heated discussions in committee meetings.)
Anyway, stupid me, I answered the questionnaire when I got it, thinking that it was for something real, and not wanting to be uncooperative with another college instructor somewhere.
There were a number of questions, but the most interesting ones basically tried to get at how much the respondent would sell tenure for. The question asked to give a percentage number of how much additional salary you'd need before you'd willingly give up tenure. There was not "I wouldn't" option, nor was there any place on the questionnaire for open-ended responses.
The question of the day, then: How much is tenure worth?
Would you give it up for 25% more salary? 200% more?
The questionnaire also asked about the effects of post-tenure review. I don't think it has much effect here because pretty much everyone post-tenure is working hard, and the potential for post-tenure review raises isn't anywhere near in line with how hard people work post-tenure. But, of course, that wasn't part of the question, and there was no open-ended space for comments at all.
Conclusion: bad questionnaire designed to make interpreting answers easy to come into line with the funding organization.
Conclusion 2: I'll probably never be willing to answer a research questionnaire again. A big EFF U to the fancy pants faculty member who sent this out. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits (and elsewhere). May he grow like an onion with his head in hell. (Feel free to add your own.)