Apples and Oranges: An International Comparison of the Public’s Experience of Justiciable Problems and the Methodological Issues Affecting Comparative Study

This report compares large-scale national surveys of the public's experience of legal problems, noting that many of them differ significantly in length, scope, types of problems included, question formulation, and data structure and analysis. It also presents findings from five online experiments that tested the impact of various question formulations on problem prevalence, use of advice, and formal processes. The researchers found that significantly different results were obtained by modest differences in question formulation. They concluded that there are risks involved in comparative analysis across jurisdictions, and that it is important to be mindful of the impact of changing methodologies when conducting follow-up surveys.