Effects of Category Order on Answers in Mail and Telephone Surveys

Effects of Category Order on Answers in Mail and Telephone Surveys Abstract Past research suggests that mail surveys encourage a primacy effect, which is a tendency to choose the first answers from a list, whereas telephone surveys encourage a recency effect, a tendency to choose the last answers from a list. This paper summarizes results from 82 new experiments conducted in 12 separate surveys in seven states. Only four of 33 mail survey comparisons exhibited significant primacy effects, while five of 26 experiments in telephone surveys exhibited recency effects. In addition, only three of 23 cross‐method comparisons produced a significant primacy/recency effect in the expected manner. The conclusion is that the prevalence of primacy and recency effects has been over‐estimated by past research and a new theoretical approach that takes into account multiple causation is needed for examining these effects. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Rural Sociology Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
1995 Rural Sociological Society
ISSN
0036-0112
eISSN
1549-0831
DOI
10.1111/j.1549-0831.1995.tb00600.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Past research suggests that mail surveys encourage a primacy effect, which is a tendency to choose the first answers from a list, whereas telephone surveys encourage a recency effect, a tendency to choose the last answers from a list. This paper summarizes results from 82 new experiments conducted in 12 separate surveys in seven states. Only four of 33 mail survey comparisons exhibited significant primacy effects, while five of 26 experiments in telephone surveys exhibited recency effects. In addition, only three of 23 cross‐method comparisons produced a significant primacy/recency effect in the expected manner. The conclusion is that the prevalence of primacy and recency effects has been over‐estimated by past research and a new theoretical approach that takes into account multiple causation is needed for examining these effects.

Journal

Rural SociologyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 1995

References

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