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Web Survey Bibliography

Title How Visual Grouping Influences Answers To Internet Surveys
Year 2004
Access date 30.06.2004
Full text pdf (272k)
Abstract Published evidence is accumulating that relatively simple visual modifications in question layout can significantly influence respondent answer choices in paper questionnaires. (e.g. Redline et al. In Press, Journal of Official Statistics; Christian and Dillman, In Press, Public Opinion Quarterly). Some of the effects found in these studies were associated with variations in visual layout, achieved through different uses of symbols, numbers, and graphics. These variations encouraged respondents to group and process questions differently. In two new studies we examine how experimental variations achieved through a variety of manipulations in the visual grouping of information influence respondent answers in Internet surveys for three quite different questions. Test items examined: 1) the differential uses of symbols, spacing, and words to define requests for dates, 2) alternative visual grouping procedures for presenting long lists of choices to respondents, and 3) different ways of graphically grouping response choices for questions that allowed the selection of more than one answer. Up to four grouping variations for each type of question were included as experimental panels in two separate surveys of random samples of Washington State University undergraduates (Spring, 2003, n=1590, response rate 58%; Fall 2003, Still in process, expected n = about 1500). The influences of these grouping variations are examined with regard to answer choices and indicators of possible difficulty and confusion associated with the various layouts, as measured through time spent answering each question and whether respondents changed answers. Results from these experiments appear to have important implications for reducing respondent burden in web surveys and increasing the likelihood that respondents provide appropriate answers to such surveys.
Year of publication2004
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations