Using Factorial Survey Experiments to Measure Attitudes, Social Norms, and Fairness Concerns in Developing Countries

Liebe, Ulf; Moumouni, Ismaïl M.; Bigler, Christine; Ingabire, Chantal; Bieri, Sabin (2017). Using Factorial Survey Experiments to Measure Attitudes, Social Norms, and Fairness Concerns in Developing Countries (Submitted). Sociological methods & research Sage Publications 10.1177/0049124117729707

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Survey-based experimental methods are increasingly used in the social sciences to study, among others, attitudes, norms, and fairness judgments. One of these methods is the factorial survey experiment (FSE or vignette experiment) in which respondents are confronted with various descriptions of situations that differ in a discrete number of attributes (or factors), and they are asked to evaluate those situations according to criteria such as agreement, approval, and fairness. Due to the systematic experimental variation of the presented situations, an FSE can separate effects of single situational attributes, allowing the causal influence of relevant situationalattributes to be determined. This is the key advantage over simple survey items. While most studies using FSEs are carried out in developed countries in which respondents are familiar with surveys, we add further evidence that this method can also unfold its power in a developing context. Building on previous applications of FSEs in Africa, we demonstrate the usefulness of this method in four novel studies on social norms regarding the physical punishment of children and the social approval of technology adoption in Benin as well as judgments of just earnings in Rwanda. We also test for the first time the applicability of multiple vignettes per respondents in a Global South/remote area context. The results of these studies are theoretically meaningful and the overwhelming majority of respondents discriminate between vignettes. This supports the validity of FSEs. However, conducting survey experiments in developing countries is different from similar experimental research in developed countries and, therefore, we also discuss some of these differences and corresponding challenges. Last but not least, our article shows, provided a few precautions are heeded, that FSEs could be used as a vehicle to innovate social science research in a Global South/remote area context.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology
09 Interdisciplinary Units > Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICFG)
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Liebe, Ulf; Bigler Luhm, Christine and Bieri, Sabin

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

0049-1241

Publisher:

Sage Publications

Language:

English

Submitter:

Nora Trenkel

Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2018 09:52

Last Modified:

14 Feb 2018 10:06

Publisher DOI:

10.1177/0049124117729707

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.107905

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/107905

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