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Melvin Stephens

What is sexual harassment? It depends on who asks! Framing effects on survey responses

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Galesic, M., and Roger Tourangeau. 2007. "What is sexual harassment? It depends on who asks! Framing effects on survey responses." Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21:189-202.

We examine the impact of the framing of the survey request-the description of the survey's sponsor and topic-on respondents' answers and describe three mechanisms that may underline such effects. Respondents can try to be relevant and cooperative and provide answers they see as the most useful; they can use the sponsorship and other elements of the survey presentation to help them understand ambiguous questions; and they may find it easier to recall instances of events related to the survey presentation. In a study that framed the survey in two different ways-one sponsored by a feminist organisation fighting against sexual harassment and the other sponsored by a neutral research institute-we found significant differences in the ways people understood and answered questions about sexual harassment. We show that all of the three mechanisms we distinguish might have affected the results.

DOI:10.1002/acp.1336 (Full Text)

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