Sensitive Questions in Online Surveys: An Experimental Evaluation of Different Implementations of the Randomized Response Technique and the Crosswise Model

Höglinger, Marc; Jann, Ben; Diekmann, Andreas (2016). Sensitive Questions in Online Surveys: An Experimental Evaluation of Different Implementations of the Randomized Response Technique and the Crosswise Model. Survey Research Methods, 10(3), pp. 171-187. European Survey REsearch Association 10.18148/srm/2016.v10i3.6703

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Höglinger, Marc; Jann, Ben and Diekmann, Andreas

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1864-3361

Publisher:

European Survey REsearch Association

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ben Jann

Date Deposited:

11 Jul 2017 14:30

Last Modified:

11 Jul 2017 14:30

Publisher DOI:

10.18148/srm/2016.v10i3.6703

Related URLs:

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.92718

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/92718

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