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ERIC Number: ED562695
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
Detecting Anchoring-and-Adjusting in Survey Scales
McIntyre, Joe
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Proper survey design is essential to obtain reliable, replicable data from research subjects. One threat to inferences drawn from surveys is anchoring-and-adjusting. Tversky and Kahnemann (1974) observed that participants' responses to questions depended systematically on irrelevant information they received prior to answering. It is important for survey designers to have tools that can detect anchoring-and-adjusting. Using non-experimental data, the author will try to determine if respondents are anchoring and adjusting by looking for evidence that responses to adjacent items are more likely to be identical than they should be. In this study the author analyzes scale data from two different settings. One set of scales comes from an online survey administered through the "Survey Monkey website." The second set comes from a survey administered in person to undergraduates and graduates students at a private university in the Northeast. All participants were better educated than people in the country as a whole and one set of participants all had internet access. Thus, it is not appropriate to generalize the results to the population at large. It is possible to find evidence of anchoring-and-adjusting using non-experimental approaches. There is more evidence of anchoring-and-adjusting on uninterrupted scales than on interrupted scales. Further research is needed to determine what sorts of scales elicit more anchoring-and-adjusting, and which sorts of populations anchor-and-adjust more frequently. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)