IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Surveying the Left-Right Dimension: The Choice of a Response Format

  • Martin Kroh
Registered author(s):

    Although left-right items are a standard tool of public opinion research, there remains some difference of opinion on the optimal response format. Two disputes can be identified in the literature: (a) whether to provide respondents with a small or large number of answer categories and (b) whether or not to administer the response scale including a midpoint. This study evaluates the performance of the 101-, 11- and 10-point left-right scales. These scales not only speak to the two disputed aspects of measuring the left-right dimension but are also common instruments in public opinion research. Drawing on data from a split ballot multitrait multi-method experiment carried out in a methodological pretest to the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the analysis shows that the choice of a response format makes a difference in terms of data quality: The 101- and 10- point scales are plagued by method effects. Moreover, an application from electoral research illustrates that the choice of response formats affects substantive interpretations about the nature of the left-right dimension. Since all three scales perform about equally well in terms of the ease of administration, the findings suggest that the 11-point left-right scale should be used in survey research.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.43287.de/dp491.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 491.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 24 p.
    Date of creation: 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp491
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin
    Phone: xx49-30-89789-0
    Fax: xx49-30-89789-200
    Web page: http://www.diw.de/en
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Cees Van Der Eijk, 2001. "Measuring Agreement in Ordered Rating Scales," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 325-341, August.
    2. Ulf Olsson, 1979. "Maximum likelihood estimation of the polychoric correlation coefficient," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 443-460, December.
    3. Volkens, Andrea, 2002. "Manifesto Coding Instructions (Second Revised Edition)," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions and Social Change FS III 02-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp491. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.