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Design of Web Questionnaires: The Effect of Layout in Rating Scales

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Author Info

  • Toepoel, V.
  • Das, J.W.M.
  • Soest, A.H.O. van

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

This article shows that respondents gain meaning from visual cues in a web survey as well as from verbal cues (words).We manipulated the layout of a five point rating scale using verbal, graphical, numerical, and symbolic language. This paper extends the existing literature in four directions: (1) all languages (verbal, graphical, numeric, and symbolic) are individually manipulated on the same rating scale, (2) a heterogeneous sample is used, (3) in which way personal characteristics and a respondent's need to think and evaluate account for variance in survey responding is analyzed, and (4) a web survey is used.Our experiments show differences due to verbal and graphical language but no effects of numeric or symbolic language are found.Respondents with a high need for cognition and a high need to evaluate are affected more by layout than respondents with a low need to think or evaluate.Furthermore, men, the elderly, and the highly educated are the most sensible for layout effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2006-30.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:200630

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: web survey; questionnaire lay out; context effects; need for cognition; need to evaluate;

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Cited by:
  1. Toepoel, V. & Dillman, D.A., 2008. "Words, Numbers and Visual Heuristics in Web Surveys: Is there a Hierarchy of Importance?," Discussion Paper 2008-92, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Toepoel, V. & Das, J.W.M. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 2008. "Design Effects in Web Surveys: Comparing Trained and Fresh Respondents," Discussion Paper 2008-51, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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