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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Sensitive questions in online surveys : an experimental evaluation of different implementations of the randomized response technique and the crosswise model
Authors : Höglinger, Marc
Jann, Ben
Diekmann, Andreas
et. al : No
DOI : 10.21256/zhaw-3171
Published in : Survey Research Methods
Volume(Issue) : 10
Issue : 3
Pages : 171
Pages to: 187
Issue Date: 12-Oct-2016
Publisher / Ed. Institution : European Survey Research Association
ISSN: 1864-3361
Language : English
Subjects : Crosswise model; Plagiarism; Randomized response technique; Sensitive question; Online survey
Subject (DDC) : 000: Generalities and science
Abstract: Self-administered online surveys may provide a higher level of privacy protection to respondents than surveys administered by an interviewer. Yet, studies indicate that asking sensitive questions is problematic also in self-administered surveys. Because respondents might not be willing to reveal the truth and provide answers that are subject to social desirability bias, the validity of prevalence estimates of sensitive behaviors from online surveys can be challenged. A well-known method to overcome these problems is the Randomized Response Technique (RRT). However, convincing evidence that the RRT provides more valid estimates than direct questioning in online surveys is still lacking. We therefore conducted an experimental study in which different implementations of the RRT, including two implementations of the so-called crosswise model, were tested and compared to direct questioning. Our study is an online survey (N = 6,037) on sensitive behaviors by students such as cheating in exams and plagiarism. Results vary considerably between different implementations, indicating that practical details have a strong effect on the performance of the RRT. Among all tested implementations, including direct questioning, the unrelated-question crosswise-model RRT yielded the highest estimates of student misconduct, which we would expect if the crosswise-model RRT is more valid than the other techniques. However, because the higher estimates may also be due to false positives, our results should not be taken as a proof for the superior validity of the crosswise-model RRT.
Further description : Users can use, reuse and build upon the material published in the journal but only for non-commercial purposes and with proper attribution.
Fulltext version : Published version
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Management and Law
Organisational Unit: Winterthur Institute of Health Economics (WIG)
Appears in Collections:Publikationen School of Management and Law

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