Do we need multiple questions to capture feeling threatened by immigrants?

  • Didier Ruedin
  • Political Research Exchange, January 2020, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/2474736x.2020.1758576

Can we use a single question on attitudes to immigrants?

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

What is it about?

Research on attitudes to immigrants often asks questions about generic 'immigrants', and here I ask whether this likely leads to valid results. I show that depending on the aim of the research project, often the answers is yes, a single question or scale can be enough. With this single question or scale, we can reliably identify who opposes immigrants more or feels more threatened by them. In other cases, we need multiple questions, because different immigrants evoke quite different reactions.

Why is it important?

We often assume that questions on 'immigrants' in the generic sense are valid; here I provide an empirical test.


Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

This is a paper that has taken many twists and turns, but I'm happy with how it turned out -- not least thanks to helpful comments by the reviewers.

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