Misresponse to survey questions: A conceptual framework and empirical test of the effects of reversals, negations, and polar opposite core concepts

H. Baumgartner, B. Weijters, Rik Pieters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The authors propose a conceptual framework of misresponse to multi-item scales in surveys in which misresponse to items that are reversed relative to other items (reversal misresponse) is differentiated from misresponse to items that are negated (negation misresponse) and misresponse to items whose core concept is the opposite of the core concept in regular items (polar opposite misresponse). The framework specifies two broad mechanisms to account for the three forms of misresponse: lack of motivation to process items in detail (‘inattention’) and lack of ability to comprehend items accurately (‘difficulty’). The authors propose a procedure to identify potential misresponse effects on the observed item responses and factor loadings, and they report two empirical studies to test the framework; the second study uses eye movement recordings to examine the underlying process. The findings reveal that polar opposite, reversed, and negated items contribute to misresponse to varying degrees, and that difficulty rather than inattention may be a more potent cause of misresponse in surveys than has traditionally been acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018

Fingerprint

Conceptual framework
Empirical test
Reversal
Empirical study
Eye movements
Factor loadings

Keywords

  • survey methods
  • Likert items
  • reversed items
  • negations
  • misresponse
  • method effects
  • eye tracking

Cite this

@article{4686de9b1f8c4d9fbf2b4b9da829c403,
title = "Misresponse to survey questions: A conceptual framework and empirical test of the effects of reversals, negations, and polar opposite core concepts",
abstract = "The authors propose a conceptual framework of misresponse to multi-item scales in surveys in which misresponse to items that are reversed relative to other items (reversal misresponse) is differentiated from misresponse to items that are negated (negation misresponse) and misresponse to items whose core concept is the opposite of the core concept in regular items (polar opposite misresponse). The framework specifies two broad mechanisms to account for the three forms of misresponse: lack of motivation to process items in detail (‘inattention’) and lack of ability to comprehend items accurately (‘difficulty’). The authors propose a procedure to identify potential misresponse effects on the observed item responses and factor loadings, and they report two empirical studies to test the framework; the second study uses eye movement recordings to examine the underlying process. The findings reveal that polar opposite, reversed, and negated items contribute to misresponse to varying degrees, and that difficulty rather than inattention may be a more potent cause of misresponse in surveys than has traditionally been acknowledged.",
keywords = "survey methods, Likert items, reversed items, negations, misresponse, method effects, eye tracking",
author = "H. Baumgartner and B. Weijters and Rik Pieters",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1509/jmr.15.0117",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Marketing Research",
issn = "0022-2437",
publisher = "American Marketing Association",

}

Misresponse to survey questions : A conceptual framework and empirical test of the effects of reversals, negations, and polar opposite core concepts. / Baumgartner, H.; Weijters, B.; Pieters, Rik.

In: Journal of Marketing Research, 2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Misresponse to survey questions

T2 - A conceptual framework and empirical test of the effects of reversals, negations, and polar opposite core concepts

AU - Baumgartner, H.

AU - Weijters, B.

AU - Pieters, Rik

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - The authors propose a conceptual framework of misresponse to multi-item scales in surveys in which misresponse to items that are reversed relative to other items (reversal misresponse) is differentiated from misresponse to items that are negated (negation misresponse) and misresponse to items whose core concept is the opposite of the core concept in regular items (polar opposite misresponse). The framework specifies two broad mechanisms to account for the three forms of misresponse: lack of motivation to process items in detail (‘inattention’) and lack of ability to comprehend items accurately (‘difficulty’). The authors propose a procedure to identify potential misresponse effects on the observed item responses and factor loadings, and they report two empirical studies to test the framework; the second study uses eye movement recordings to examine the underlying process. The findings reveal that polar opposite, reversed, and negated items contribute to misresponse to varying degrees, and that difficulty rather than inattention may be a more potent cause of misresponse in surveys than has traditionally been acknowledged.

AB - The authors propose a conceptual framework of misresponse to multi-item scales in surveys in which misresponse to items that are reversed relative to other items (reversal misresponse) is differentiated from misresponse to items that are negated (negation misresponse) and misresponse to items whose core concept is the opposite of the core concept in regular items (polar opposite misresponse). The framework specifies two broad mechanisms to account for the three forms of misresponse: lack of motivation to process items in detail (‘inattention’) and lack of ability to comprehend items accurately (‘difficulty’). The authors propose a procedure to identify potential misresponse effects on the observed item responses and factor loadings, and they report two empirical studies to test the framework; the second study uses eye movement recordings to examine the underlying process. The findings reveal that polar opposite, reversed, and negated items contribute to misresponse to varying degrees, and that difficulty rather than inattention may be a more potent cause of misresponse in surveys than has traditionally been acknowledged.

KW - survey methods

KW - Likert items

KW - reversed items

KW - negations

KW - misresponse

KW - method effects

KW - eye tracking

U2 - 10.1509/jmr.15.0117

DO - 10.1509/jmr.15.0117

M3 - Article

JO - Journal of Marketing Research

JF - Journal of Marketing Research

SN - 0022-2437

ER -