Increasing respondents' use of definitions in web surveys

Publication Abstract

Peytchev, A., Frederick G. Conrad, Mick P. Couper, and Roger Tourangeau. 2010. "Increasing respondents' use of definitions in web surveys." Journal of Official Statistics, 26(4): 633–650.

Survey respondents may misinterpret the questions they are asked, potentially undermining the accuracy of their answers. One way to reduce this risk is to make definitions of key question concepts available to the respondents. In the current study we compared two methods of making definitions available to web survey respondents – displaying the definition with the question text and displaying the definition when respondents roll the mouse over the relevant question terms. When definitions were always displayed they were consulted more than when they required a rollover request. The length of the definitions did not affect how frequently they were used under either method of display. Respondents who completed training items designed to encourage definition use actually requested definitions less often, suggesting that they may value minimal effort over improved understanding. We conclude that at least for small numbers of questions, providing definitions with the question is likely to be the more effective approach than rollovers or hyperlinks.

PMCID: PMC3570267. (Pub Med Central)

Public Access Link

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search | Books | Next

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock talks data with Cadillac News: fewer people getting married in U.S., Wexford County

More News

Highlights

National Study of Caregiving (NSOC) Extended

Fabian Pfeffer receives Doris Entwisle Early Career Award from American Sociological Association

More Highlights


Connect with PSC follow PSC on Twitter Like PSC on Facebook