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Measuring social indicators in opinion surveys: A method to improve accuracy on sensitive questions

Measuring social indicators in opinion surveys: A method to improve accuracy on sensitive questions Abstract Asking sensitive questions, without risking a terminated interview or response bias, is a major problem in deriving accurate social indicators based on public opinion surveys. This problem has become particularly acute as the topics that interest researchers have become more personal in nature. Mail and telephone surveys, and methods such as the randomized response technique, have all been used to try and overcome this problem, with varying degrees of success. In this paper, we describe an alternative approach using a sealed booklet. We report results from a question-format experiment that asked respondents the same sensitive questions in a sealed booklet, completed in the presence of the interviewer, and in a standard face-to-face interview. The survey used for the experiment was a personal interview survey of drug use based on a national population sample. The sealed booklet format was found to produce more accurate estimates of drug use compared to direct questions. In addition to assuring the respondent greater anonymity, the sealed booklet permits a wide range of questions to be asked and does not limit the analyses that can be conducted on the data. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Indicators Research Springer Journals

Measuring social indicators in opinion surveys: A method to improve accuracy on sensitive questions

Social Indicators Research , Volume 27 (2): 18 – Sep 1, 1992

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References (26)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers
ISSN
0303-8300
eISSN
1573-0921
DOI
10.1007/BF00300560
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Asking sensitive questions, without risking a terminated interview or response bias, is a major problem in deriving accurate social indicators based on public opinion surveys. This problem has become particularly acute as the topics that interest researchers have become more personal in nature. Mail and telephone surveys, and methods such as the randomized response technique, have all been used to try and overcome this problem, with varying degrees of success. In this paper, we describe an alternative approach using a sealed booklet. We report results from a question-format experiment that asked respondents the same sensitive questions in a sealed booklet, completed in the presence of the interviewer, and in a standard face-to-face interview. The survey used for the experiment was a personal interview survey of drug use based on a national population sample. The sealed booklet format was found to produce more accurate estimates of drug use compared to direct questions. In addition to assuring the respondent greater anonymity, the sealed booklet permits a wide range of questions to be asked and does not limit the analyses that can be conducted on the data.

Journal

Social Indicators ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 1, 1992

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