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Effects of visual and aural communication of categorical response options on answers to survey questions


  • Lynn, Peter
  • Hope, Steven
  • Jäckle, Annette
  • Campanelli, Pamela C.
  • Nicolaas, Gerry


Whether questions and answers are transmitted between interviewer and respondent by visual or aural communication can affect the responses given. We hypothesise that communication channel can affect either the respondent's understanding of the question or the tendency to satisfice. These effects may be mediated by the cognitive ability and motivation of the respondent and by the type and difficulty of the question. We test our hypotheses using data from a large-scale controlled experiment. We find support for the notion that visual presentation improves understanding of the question and reduces the tendency to satisfice. We also find that effects are stronger for respondents of higher cognitive ability and for motivated respondents.

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  • Lynn, Peter & Hope, Steven & Jäckle, Annette & Campanelli, Pamela C. & Nicolaas, Gerry, 2012. "Effects of visual and aural communication of categorical response options on answers to survey questions," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-21, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2012-21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lynn, Peter & Kaminska, Olena, 2011. "The impact of mobile phones on survey measurement error," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-07, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. SC Noah Uhrig & Emanuela Sala, 2011. "When Change Matters: An Analysis of Survey Interaction in Dependent Interviewing on the British Household Panel Study," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 40(2), pages 333-366, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Campanelli, Pamela C. & Blake, Margaret & Mackie, Michelle & Hope, Steven, 2015. "Mixed modes and measurement error: using cognitive interviewing to explore the results of a mixed modes experiment," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-18, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Cernat, Alexandru & Couper, Mick P. & Ofstedal, Mary Beth, 2015. "Estimation of mode effects in the Health and Retirement Study using measurement models," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-19, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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