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Question Setter Guidance

Guidance for Question Setters (1989)

[Section 1 and  the last rule (2 l) are new. Otherwise there are no significant changes from the 1987–8 version.]

1. Timetable
  It is most important that the Fixtures Secretary is given time to organise the material for a Tuesday night and that sufficient time is allocated for Question Vetting.

The following table is strongly recommended:

For a League match on Tuesday 29th March
The questions should be at the collectin centre by 28th March
The questions should be vetted by 20th March

All teams will receive notice of the responsibilities.

For each evening, one team is responsible for setting the questions, one team is required to be the question vetter, all teams are invited to take place in the vetting. All teams involved are required to provide four question masters.

2. Standards
  All question setters are advised to read through these notes prior to setting their questions, and again when the set of questions is complete.
a) Do not include questions with multiple answers. It is not a good idea to ask for all the names of the seven dwarves. However you could give the names of six of them and ask for the seventh.
b) Make sure you understand the question before you write it. Don't be longwinded and make sure the question master knows the answer you want. It is often a good idea to give a little supplementary information with the answer. It often makes it clearer and adds to the evening.
c) Always make sure you are able to give references. Should a question be challenged and subsequently brought before the committee it is not enough to say "I'm sure that it's OK, I saw it on the back of a matchbox". You must be able to give an up to date reference.
d) Make sure that your reference books are up to date. Most current facts and figures can be checked in the local library. Use an up to date atlas.
e) Questions should be neatly handwritten, or preferably typed. If you have problems with photocopying the requisite number of sets of questions, contact a member of the committee. Try and keep each specialist round on a separate sheet.
f) If you want the teams not to use pen and paper, say so. They should normally be able to do so even for spelling rounds.
g) Make sure that if you [use] Technical or Foreign phrases in the question, indicate how to pronounce it to the question master. The normal method is to indicate same in brackets (par–en–thi–sees).
h) The Arts & Entertainment round should contain a variety of subject matters. Setting obscure pop music questions throughout gives very few people pleasure.
i) In the Science round, questions should not be so complicated that only a qualified Astrophysicist can tell whether the answer given is correct. Make sure that [the] answer you want is clearly stated. Try and avoid asking lots of historical science questions.
j) Always make sure that in the sports round that the answer you are asking for did not change two days before. Records are always being broken. If you want to ask this [kind of] question, then date it. "As at ... "
k) Remember that in the Specialist rounds teams should be able to make a stab at the right answer. Don't ask obscure questions just to show off your own knowledge. Check with your team colleagues and if they can't answer it, then consider discarding it.
l) It is easy for types of questions to get cliche–ed. Recently we have had a spate of collective nouns replacing the spate of SI units. Try for a little originality.

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