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ERIC Number: ED448211
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Impact of Instructional Set on Distributions of Self-Report Ratings on a Survey of Personality Characteristics.
McDonald, Jo-Anne; Hall, Lisa
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of instrument completion instructions on univariate and multivariate distributional characteristics and relationships among variables. Instructions allowed free-choice allotment of ratings (unforced instructions) or requested the subject to assign a certain number of ratings to either the highest or lowest rating-scale categories (forced instructions). A total of 126 participants using unforced distributions completed a self-report survey of personality characteristics in a utility company. The comparison sample of 346 forced distributions was collected from 5 companies. Samples of equivalent size (n=115) that contained complete data for the scale were selected for comparison. It was hypothesized that there would be effects of instructions on the central tendency and dispersion of the ratings. Although the collapsed means did not differ across instructional sets, the variability in the ratings was higher with forced-choice distributions. Standard deviations and standard errors of the mean were higher for every item answered under the forced conditions. Support for the second hypothesis, that there would be effects of instructions on the shapes of the distributions of the ratings, was found in this study. The shapes of the distributions were quite different across the sets, and apparently neither set of instructions elicited normally distributed data. The hypothesis that there would be an effect of instructions on the internal consistency of the scale was also supported by the results of the study. Five appendixes contain the instructions and frequency histograms and probability plots for some survey items. (Contains 5 tables and 18 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A