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Presented By: Michigan Program in Survey and Data Science

MPSDS JPSM Seminar Series - Effect of Branching Middle Responses in Dichotomous Polar Scales in Web Surveys

Z. Tuba Suzer Gurtekin - Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

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MPSDS JPSM Seminar Series
November 30, 2022
12:00 - 1:00 EST

Effect of Branching Middle Responses in Dichotomous Polar Scales in Web Surveys

In telephone surveys, 11 to 49% of respondents would select a middle alternative when it is offered although they would not volunteer it if it were not mentioned in dichotomous bipolar questions. Furthermore, offering a middle option led to differences in response effects that are related to respondent characteristics, including social desirability bias and satisficing effects. While a question form that branches middle responses has been shown to have a lower validity compared to offered form in telephone surveys, potentially, branched question form can motivate respondents to spend extra time and effort in giving a response in the absence of an interviewer. Therefore, differences in validity and reliability of responses to branched question form compared to offered form is a research interest in general population web surveys. This study tests the validity and the reliability to branched question form in a general population survey using a randomized experiment. The branched question form did not change validity and reliability of responses and reduced the satisficing behavior based on the proxies compared to the offered form.

Z. Tuba Suzer Gurtekin is an Assistant Research Scientist within the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan. She is the scientific leader of the Surveys of Consumers, which conducts monthly national surveys of American households to understand consumer expectations and how those expectations impact their spending and saving behavior. Her research experience has included development of alternative sample, methodology and questionnaire designs, data collection and analysis methods for a general population in parallel survey modes. In addition to her work through the Surveys of Consumers, she also currently serves on the Board of Associate Editors of CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease Journal. 608.82She teaches survey sampling and survey methodology in University of Michigan’s Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis Program (OJOC CRDSA).

The University of Michigan Program in Survey Methodology was established in 2001 seeking to train future generations of survey and data scientists. In 2021, we changed our name to the Michigan Program in Survey and Data Science. Our curriculum is concerned with a broad set of data sources including survey data, but also including social media posts, sensor data, and administrative records, as well as analytic methods for working with these new data sources. And we bring to data science a focus on data quality — which is not at the center of traditional data science. The new name speaks to what we teach and work on at the intersection of social research and data. The program offers doctorate and master of science degrees and a certificate through the University of Michigan. The program's home is the Institute for Social Research, the world's largest academically-based social science research institute.

June 5 – July 28, 2023

The Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques is a teaching program of the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research. It is located on the central campus of the University of Michigan at 426 Thompson Street in Ann Arbor. The summer courses are select offerings from the Michigan Program in Survey and Data Science, and can be used to pursue a doctorate, master of science and a certificate in survey methodology.

All 2023 courses will be offered in an alternative remote format with the exception of the Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians. Payment of Summer Scholar and workshop fees must be made in full before you will be officially registered for class. Fees are based on total “course hours” (assigned to each course as shown in the section on description of courses and on the 2023 course schedule) although no formal academic credit is actually earned.

Our courses this summer will be offered primarily by two-way, live video through a platform that supports lectures and group work. In some cases, courses are offered in a flipped format in which lectures are video recorded for students to watch on-demand and then meet with their instructor by two-way live video to discuss the lectures, readings, and problem sets. All classes are scheduled in Eastern Standard Time Zone.

We have been offering courses in remote formats for many years through our connection with the graduate programs at the Universities of Michigan and Maryland which share all courses by live classroom-to-classroom video. In the COVID era, our transition to entirely remote instruction has been straightforward and brought the students’ experience very close to that of a place-based classroom.

We understand that some participants were looking forward to visiting Ann Arbor, networking and participating in social activities. As an alternative, we are planning several virtual social and networking activities in which participants will meet informally (by live video) with their instructors and just with each other in small groups to discuss various topics, some related to courses and some not. This will give participants a chance get to know each other as well as instructors outside the “classroom.” We’re excited to work with you as we learn how to best connect with each other remotely.

Livestream Information

November 30, 2022 (Wednesday) 12:00pm
Meeting ID: 99290637991
Meeting Password: 1949

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