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From Telephone to the Web: Fueled by the growth of the internet, self-administration as a survey mode presents a mixture of opportunities and challenges to the field.
Self-administered surveys tend to be less expensive and to provide ways of asking questions that are difficult or impossible to ask in an interviewer-administered survey. But the results from self-administered and interviewer-administered surveys are sometimes different.
This difference is called a mode effect, a difference in responses to a survey question attributable to the mode in which the question is administered.
Among the issues this raises are how to track trends in responses over time when the mode of interview has changed and how to handle the inconsistencies when combining data gathered using different modes.
Using its nationally representative American Trends PanelPew Research Center conducted a large-scale experiment that tested the effects of the mode of survey interview — in this case, a telephone survey with an interviewer vs.
This report describes the effort to catalog and evaluate mode effects in public opinion surveys.
The study finds that differences in responses by survey mode are fairly common, but typically not large, with a mean difference of 5. The differences range in size from 0 to 18 percentage points. The results are based on 3, respondents who were randomly assigned to either the phone or Web mode and interviewed July 7-Aug.
Where differences occurred, they were especially large on three broad types of questions: Items that asked the respondent to assess the quality of their family and social life produced differences of 18 and 14 percentage points, respectively, with those interviewed on the phone reporting higher levels of satisfaction than those who completed the survey on the Web.
Questions about societal discrimination against several different groups also produced large differences, with telephone respondents more apt than Web respondents to say that gays and lesbians, Hispanics and blacks face a lot of discrimination.
However, there was no significant mode difference in responses to the question of whether women face a lot of discrimination.
Statistically significant mode effects also were observed on several other questions. One important concern about mode effects is that they do not always affect all respondents in the same way.
Certain kinds of respondents may be more vulnerable than others to the effect of the mode of interview. In some instances, this may be a consequence of cognitive factors; for example, well-educated respondents may be better able than those with less education to comprehend written questions.
In other instances, the sensitivity of a question may be greater for certain respondents than for others; for example, mode effects on questions about financial difficulties may be much larger among low income individuals — the people most likely to experience such troubles. Each set of respondents was independently weighted to be representative of the U.
Mode differences for each question in the study were measured by comparing answers given by the Web and phone groups using a commonly reported category of each question in the study or the category that shows the largest mode difference — whichever is larger.
Why Mode of Interview Effects Occur The experience of being interviewed by another person differs from completing a survey online or on paper. For example, an interviewer can help respondents stay focused and may be able to provide clarification or encouragement at difficult junctures during the interview.
But the social interaction inherent in a telephone or in-person interview may also exert subtle pressures on respondents that affect how they answer questions. Respondents may feel a need to present themselves in a more positive light to an interviewer, leading to an overstatement of socially desirable behaviors and attitudes and an understatement of opinions and behaviors they fear would elicit disapproval from another person.
Previous research has shown that respondents understate such activities as drug and alcohol use and overstate activities like donating to charity or helping other people.
Of the 21 items showing a difference by mode of at least seven percentage points, seven involve ratings of political figures and very negative ratings are less prevalent for all seven items on the phone than on the Webfour involve questions about intimate personal issues including life satisfaction, health status and financial troubles with positive responses more common on the phone across all of them and three relate to perceptions of discrimination against minority groups with phone respondents more likely to say there is discrimination against each group.
Two other questions that fit within this framework are talking with neighbors and attending religious services. Phone respondents were 11 points more likely than Web respondents to say they talked with neighbors at least a few times a week.
Web respondents were seven points more likely than phone respondents to say that they seldom or never attend religious services.
But not all questions that touch on potentially sensitive topics or involve behaviors that are socially desirable or undesirable exhibited mode effects. For example, there was no significant mode difference in how people rated their own personal happiness; or in the percentages of people who said they had done volunteer work in the past year, called a friend or relative yesterday just to talk, or visited with family or friends yesterday.
There also were no differences by mode in the shares of people who are religiously unaffiliated, think that a person must believe in God in order to be moral or say that religion is very important in their life.
In addition, there are other sources of mode difference apart from social desirability. Because surveys require cognitive processing of words and phrases to understand a question and choose an appropriate response option, the channel in which the question and options are communicated can also affect responses.
A complicated question with many different response options may be very difficult to comprehend when someone hears it on the phone, but easier to process when read online or on paper.
This item was modeled on a new question under review by the U. Census that, for the first time, includes Hispanic origin as an option along with the more traditional race categories such as white, black or African American, Asian or Asian American.In a recent interview, Obama indicated that it was.
On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos noted that it was five years after the failure of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, a pivotal moment in the financial collapse of that led to the most recent recession.
Ethiopian Business and Lifestyle. Ethiopian-American Yonas Beshawred who is from Maryland is the founder and CEO of Stackshare, a developer-only community of engineers from some of the world's top startups and companies. Another explanation for how the better-than-average effect works is egocentrism.
This is the idea that an individual places greater importance and significance on their own abilities, characteristics, and behaviors than those of others. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources.
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