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ERIC Number: EJ1148266
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0049-1241
Narratives of Response Error from Cognitive Interviews of Survey Questions about Normative Behavior
Brenner, Philip S.
Sociological Methods & Research, v46 n3 p540-564 Aug 2017
That rates of normative behaviors produced by sample surveys are higher than actual behavior warrants is well evidenced in the research literature. Less well understood is the source of this error. Twenty-five cognitive interviews were conducted to probe responses to a set of common, conventional survey questions about one such normative behavior: religious service attendance. Answers to the survey questions and cognitive probes are compared both quantitatively and qualitatively. Half of the respondents amended their answer during cognitive probing, all amendments indicating a lower rate of attendance than originally reported, yielding a statistically significant reduction in reported attendance. Narrative responses shed light onto the source of bias, as respondents pragmatically interpreted the survey question to allow themselves to include other types of religious behavior, to report on a more religious past, and discount current constraints on their religious behavior, in order to report aspirational or normative religious identities.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts (Boston)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A