Surveying the Left-Right Dimension: The Choice of a Response Format
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.
|Date of creation:||2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin|
Web page: http://www.diw.de/en
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- 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).
- Ulf Olsson, 1979. "Maximum likelihood estimation of the polychoric correlation coefficient," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 443-460, December.
- N/A, 1970. "Note," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 2(4), pages 1-1, October.
- Annette C. Scherpenzeel & Willem E. Saris, 1997. "The Validity and Reliability of Survey Questions," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 25(3), pages 341-383, February.
- 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.
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.