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Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys

Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys
Experiments on Question Form, Wording, and Context

© 1996 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Awarded the 2005 Philip Converse Award by the American Political Science Association

Recipient of the 1996 Paul Lazarsfeld award by the American Sociological Association Methodology Section

"Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys makes an enormous contribution to the field of survey methodology and ranks with such classics as Hyman's Interviewing and Kish's Survey Sampling. To the extent that survey research is only as reliable as its methodology, this book becomes a long-missing foundation stone for the social sciences in general."

--Tom Smith in American Journal of Sociology

"This volume reports on the sort of program of research we all constantly advocate. . . . It is large-scale, systematic, and cumulative. . . . The book is chock-full of . . . careful generalizations, leaving a reader informed and dazzled."

--Judith Tanur in Public Opinion

"The book is virtually a treasure chest for the survey methodologist and the survey practitioner." --Lars Bergman in Journal of Official Statistics "This is a classic. . . . Howard Schuman and Stanley Presser have produced a work whose insights and vision have an enduring quality. . . . No one undertaking public opinion analysis in years to come can be taken seriously without becoming intimately familiar with this pioneering research."

--John Robinson in Social Forces

"In a fundamental way, Howard Schuman and Stanley Presser have pioneered a new state of the art for conducting research on the form, wording, and context of questions asked in attitude surveys."

--Robert A. Ellis in Contemporary Psychology

"The prodigious work of Howard Schuman and Stanley Presser . . . demonstrates that question wording cannot be isolated from theory or the context of specific issues."

--Angell Beza in Contemporary Sociology

Comprehensive in its coverage, Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys covers such issues as question order and response order effects; the lack of overlap between respondent-generated categories for open-ended questions and the closed categories generated by research, even with extensive pretesting with open questions; the effects of explicitly offering respondents a "don't know" or a middle opinion alternative; attitude strength and its relation to reliability; and issues of wording tone.

Scope and Method
Question Order and Response Order
Open versus Closed Questions
The Assessment of No Opinion
The Fine Line between Attitudes and Nonattitudes
Measuring a Middle Position
Balance and Imbalance in Questions
The Acquiescence Quagmire
Passionate Attitudes
Intensity, Centrality, and Committed Action  
Attitude Strength and the Concept of Crystallization
Tone of Wording
Some Final Thoughts on Survey Research and Research on Surveys
Appendix A: Mysteries of Replication and Non-Replication
Appendix B: Special Sampling and Interviewing Problems
Appendix C: Education and Information Measures
Appendix D: Additional Items and Codes Bearing on Acquiescence

"The book is virtually a treasure chest for the survey methodologist and the survey practitioner." 

Journal of Official Statistics

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ISBN: 9780761903598