What is it about?

Even though they are ubiquitous the social sciences, previous research indicates AD questions may yield lower data quality. We use cognitive interviewing methodology to better understand how respondents process agree-disagree and CS questions.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show reliability is higher for the AD scale, neither scale is more valid, and the CS scale is more susceptible to recency effects for certain questions. Results for response latencies and behavioral indicators provide evidence that the CS questions promote deeper processing. Qualitative analysis reveals five sources of difficulties with response processing that shed light on under-examined reasons why AD and CS questions can produce different results, with CS not always yielding higher measures of data quality than AD.


AD questions are asked every day on large-scale surveys of the general population and small-scale studies of specialized populations. Our study yielded some unexpected findings with regard to data quality and AD versus CS questions. We need more research to understand the conditions under which AD or CS might yield better data.

Jennifer Dykema
University of Wisconsin Madison Memorial Library

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Measuring Trust in Medical Researchers: Adding Insights from Cognitive Interviews to Examine Agree-Disagree and Construct-Specific Survey Questions, June 2019, De Gruyter, DOI: 10.2478/jos-2019-0017.
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