Asked and Answered: Knowledge Levels When We Will Not Take “Don't Know” for an Answer

Asked and Answered: Knowledge Levels When We Will Not Take “Don't Know” for an Answer A pivotal claim in research on citizen competence is that the typical citizen knows very little about politics. Public opinion surveys provide a considerable body of evidence in support of this position. However, survey protocols with respect to factual questions about politics violate established norms in psychometric research on educational testing in that “don't know” answers are encouraged rather than discouraged. Because encouraging “don't know” responses potentially confounds efforts to identify substantive understanding, this practice may lead to the systematic understatement of political knowledge. We explore this possibility with data drawn from three split-ballot tests: one conducted as part of a survey in the Tallahassee, Florida, metropolitan area, one conducted as part of the 1998 NES Pilot, and one conducted as part of the 2000 NES. Results reveal that the mean level of political knowledge increases by approximately 15% when knowledge questions are asked in accordance with accepted practices in educational testing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Asked and Answered: Knowledge Levels When We Will Not Take “Don't Know” for an Answer

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/asked-and-answered-knowledge-levels-when-we-will-not-take-don-t-know-Ep8vJPYZwn
Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1015015227594
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A pivotal claim in research on citizen competence is that the typical citizen knows very little about politics. Public opinion surveys provide a considerable body of evidence in support of this position. However, survey protocols with respect to factual questions about politics violate established norms in psychometric research on educational testing in that “don't know” answers are encouraged rather than discouraged. Because encouraging “don't know” responses potentially confounds efforts to identify substantive understanding, this practice may lead to the systematic understatement of political knowledge. We explore this possibility with data drawn from three split-ballot tests: one conducted as part of a survey in the Tallahassee, Florida, metropolitan area, one conducted as part of the 1998 NES Pilot, and one conducted as part of the 2000 NES. Results reveal that the mean level of political knowledge increases by approximately 15% when knowledge questions are asked in accordance with accepted practices in educational testing.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 3, 2004

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off