ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Developing and validating a cross-national cumulative scale measuring attitudes toward illegal immigrants

Kees van der Veer, Laurens Higler, Susan Woelders, Reidar Ommundsen, Regina Pernice

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 4 - Law Building, Room 106
Date: 2012-07-11 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-11-15


The article reports the results of a Mokken Scale Procedure (MSP) developing a hierarchical cross-national scale assessing attitudes toward illegal immigration, and a qualitative validation of this scale. Responses to a 20 item likert type scale (Ommundsen & Larsen, 1999) were collected in two national representative surveys in the Netherlands (n=982; female 48.7%; M age = 49.1, SD = 15.59) and New Zealand (n=1280; female 53.6%; M age = 49.3, SD=16.97).
A separate item analysis and subsequently MSP analysis yielded a cumulative scale with the same four items for each sample meeting criteria for a so-called ‘double monotone Mokken scale with homogeneity’ in both samples, with H >.40. This cross-national 4-item scale was tested by means of the Three-Step Test-Interview (Hak, Van der Veer, & Jansen, 2008) with ten participants in The Netherlands and in-depth interviews with fifteen participants in New Zealand. Analysis of the interviews shows that individually ranking the items of the scale is similar to the rank order generated by MSP, but the individual evaluation of the degree of negativity of items strongly depends on the way illegal immigrants are framed by individuals. It is concluded that the quantitative measuring instruments measure a general average attitude (like the average temperature of a country at a certain moment) while qualitative evaluations vary with the way illegal immigrants are framed by interviewees (like variations in local temperature).