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The effect of rating scale format on response styles: the number of response categories and response category labels

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Author Info

  • Weijters, B.
  • Cabooter, E.
  • Schillewaert, N.

    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)

Abstract

Questionnaires using Likert-type rating scales are an important source of data in marketing research. Researchers use different rating scale formats with varying numbers of response categories and varying label formats (e.g., 7-point rating scales labeled at the endpoints, fully labeled 5-point scales, etc.) but have few guidelines when selecting a specific format. Drawing from the literature on response styles, we formulate hypotheses on the effect of the labeling of response categories and the number of response categories on the net acquiescence response style, extreme response style and misresponse to reversed items. We test the hypotheses in an online survey (N=1207) with eight experimental conditions and a follow-up study with two experimental conditions (N = 226). We find evidence of strong effects of scale format on response distributions and misresponse to reversed items, and we formulate recommendations on the choice of a scale format.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2010-07.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 19 May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2010-07

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Related research

Keywords: Rating scale format; Response styles; Number of response categories; Response category labels;

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Cited by:
  1. Kayser, Maike & Nitzko, Sina & Spiller, Achim, 2013. "Analysis of Differences in Meat Consumption Patterns," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 16(2).

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