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Web Survey Bibliography

Title The Effect of Survey Mode on Socially Undesirable Responses to Open Ended Questions: Online vs. Paper Instruments
Year 2013
Access date 31.05.2013

A chief concern of survey research is that respondents give socially desirable answers instead of actual beliefs. However, it is possible that this tendency is mitigated by survey mode. In this paper we evaluate open-ended responses to a photographic stimuli that asked 1,056 students in a criminal justice program to evaluate neighborhood conditions. This photograph presents a street corner with a brick building, a van marked with spray paint, and a religious mural. We expect responses to this photograph to contain references to race, ethnicity, and class. However, we examine the difference in how race, ethnicity, and class, were depicted by respondents across two modes: paper surveys (46.6 percent of responses) and Web surveys (53.3 percent). We mark each response for various socially undesirable responses ranging from impolite language to disparaging stereotypes. We then use an item response theory (IRT) model to estimate the impact of survey mode on the propensity of such offences by estimating a multi-level logistic regression model. Using a means-as-outcome model and cross level interactions with survey mode we estimate how mode impacts not only the general propensity for social undesirability, but also how survey mode impacts the different aspects of socially undesirable answers. Preliminary results suggest that while mentions of race or ethnicity do not vary based on mode, surveys from Web interfaces are more likely to provide socially undesirable answers. For example, we found no difference between modes for mentions of minority populations, but online surveys were 88 percent more likely to use the word “ghetto.” We then consider what these results suggest for quantitative research. We conclude that online surveys are more likely to elicit visceral responses, and that analyses on mixed mode data collection should include survey mode as a control when examining mean differences on various scales.

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Year of publication2013
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations

Web survey bibliography (4086)