ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2010

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Loose Poles: Evidence on the Importance of Specific Labels on Response Scales

Paula Wright

Building: Holme Building
Room: Sutherland Room
Date: 2010-12-03 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2010-11-17


Agree/Disagree (A/D) rating scales are an efficient and popular response format in social surveys. However, they are increasingly subject to criticism from researchers who question whether their efficiency comes at the cost of accuracy, in particularly when recording respondent choices on the Disagree side. These inaccuracies originate in the additional burden for respondents in using a disagree response. This paper discusses the literature on A/D scales and the likely mechanisms which lead to problems with A/D scales, and presents data from research on the functioning of A/D rating scales in a gender or family attitude item from the ISSP.