Notice: the WebSM website has not been updated since the beginning of 2018.

Web Survey Bibliography

Title The Direction of Rating Scales and Its Influence on Response Behavior in Web Surveys
Author Keusch, F.
Year 2012
Access date 30.06.2012

Measurement of attitudes, opinions, and behavior in web surveys often relies on letting respondents indicate their agreement or disagreement with several statements on a continuum of predetermined answer categories on a horizontal rating scale presented in a grid format. When designing rating scales for web surveys, a number of decisions have to be made, among others about the response order of the scale points, i.e. whether the scale runs from positive to negative or from negative to positive. In the literature, there is no conclusive evidence about the influence of the direction of extreme point labeling (e.g., Belson, 1966; Christian et al. 2009; Dickson & Albaum 1975; Friedman et al., 1993; Weng & Cheng, 2000) and various theories have been used to explain differences in answer behavior; satisficing and primacy effects (Krosnick & Alwim 1987), interpretative heuristics (Tourangeau et al. 2004; 2007; Koller/Salzberger 2010), and cultural differences (Ferall-Nunge/Couper 2011; Tellis/Chandrasekaran 2010; Yang et al. 2010). As an increasing number of samples for web surveys is drawn from online panels and some respondents potentially participate in a large number of web surveys nowadays, their past experience with and expectations about the presentation of rating scales has to be considered. The presented study considers this diverse experience among web survey respondents. In three independent experiments with online panel members, professionals, and students the response order of rating scales was experimentally varied. The influence of scale direction was measured on different indicators of data quality (response distribution, answer differentiation, straightlining, response styles). The results indicate that respondents with more web survey experience assume that rating scales usually run from positive-to-negative.

Access/Direct link

Conference Homepage (abstract)

Year of publication2012
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations

Web survey bibliography - Keusch, F. (21)