Sensitive Questions in Online Surveys: An Experimental Evaluation of the Randomized Response Technique and the Crosswise Model
AbstractSelf-administered online surveys provide a higher level of privacy protection to respondents than surveys administered by an interviewer. Yet, studies indicate that asking sensitive questions is problematic also in self-administered surveys. Because respondents might not be willing to reveal the truth and provide answers that are subject to social desirability bias, the validity of prevalence estimates of sensitive behaviors from online surveys can be challenged. A well-known method to overcome these problems is the Randomized Response Technique (RRT). However, convincing evidence that the RRT provides more valid estimates than direct questioning in online surveys is still lacking. A new variant of the RRT called the Crosswise Model (CM) has recently been proposed to overcome some of the deficiencies of existing RRT designs. We therefore conducted an experimental study in which different implementations of the RRT and the CM were tested and compared to direct questioning. Our study is a large-scale online survey (N = 6,037) on sensitive behaviors by students such as cheating in exams and plagiarism. The results reveal a poor performance of the forced-response RRT, while the CM yielded significantly higher estimates of sensitive behaviors than direct questioning. We conclude that the CM is a promising approach for asking sensitive questions in self-administered surveys.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences in its series University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers with number 9.
Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 22 May 2014
Date of revision: 24 Jun 2014
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Web page: http://www.sowi.unibe.ch/
online survey; sensitive questions; plagiarism; exam cheating; randomized response technique; crosswise model;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
- C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2014-06-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2014-06-02 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2014-06-02 (Experimental Economics)
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- Kundt, Thorben, 2014. "Applying “Benford’s law” to the Crosswise Model: Findings from an online survey on tax evasion," Working Paper 148/2014, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
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