Quality & Quantity (2005) 39:559–579 © Springer 2005 DOI 10.1007/s11135-005-1467-9 Who Perceives the Collective Past and How? Are Refusals on Open-ended Questions Substantial Answers? H.-A. HEINRICH Department of Political Syst. and Political Sociology, University of Stuttgart; Breitscheidstr. 2, D-70174 Stuttgart, Germany, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Many textbooks dealing with empirical social science or survey research give only a brief overview concerning the use of open-ended questions. Usually, the authors remark some advantages of the format and contrast it with the closed-ended one. It is said that open-ended questions serve the exploration of current changes in attitudes as well as the discovery of frames of reference unknown to the researcher, the test of knowledge levels, or the examination of thought processes as well as linguistic usage (Bab- bie, 1973: 127; Bailey, 1978: 106f.; May, 1993: 95; Diekmann, 1995: 409). Despite its acknowledged usefulness, this question type is seldom applied (Kromrey, 1980: 352; Caplovitz, 1983: 119). Unwillingness of scholars to work with this measurement instrument may be put down to the fact that the closed format has several advantages especially with regard to costs and time (Converse, 1984: 270; Fowler, 1995: 178; Schnell et al., 1999: 395). Furthermore, the validity of open-ended questions
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2005
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