The Psychology of Survey Response

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 13, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 401 pages
This valuable book examines the complex psychological processes involved in answering different types of survey questions. Drawing on both classic and modern research from cognitive psychology, social psychology, and survey methodology, the authors examine how survey responses are formulated and they demonstrate how seemingly unimportant features of the survey can affect the answers obtained. The book provides a comprehensive review of the sources of response errors in surveys, and it offers a coherent theory of the relation between the underlying views of the public and the results of public opinion polls. Topics include the comprehension of survey questions, the recall of relevant facts and beliefs, estimation and inferential processes people use to answer survey questions, the sources of the apparent instability of public opinion, the difficulties in getting responses into the required format, and the distortions introduced into surveys by deliberate misreporting.

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