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Middle alternatives revisited: how the neither/nor response acts as a ‘face-saving’ way of saying ‘I don’t know’

Middle alternatives revisited: how the neither/nor response acts as a ‘face-saving’ way of saying ‘I don’t know’
Middle alternatives revisited: how the neither/nor response acts as a ‘face-saving’ way of saying ‘I don’t know’
In this paper, we use follow-up probes administered to respondents who initially select the mid-point to determine whether they selected this alternative in order to indicate opinion neutrality, or to indicate that they do not have an opinion on the issue. We find the vast majority of responses turn out to be what we term ‘face-saving don’t knows’ and that reallocating these responses from the mid-point to the don’t know category significantly alters descriptive and multivariate inferences. Our findings have important implications for the design and analysis of bipolar ratings scales.
M10/01
Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute
Sturgis, Patrick
b9f6b40c-50d2-4117-805a-577b501d0b3c
Roberts, Caroline
9d2bf675-59e8-45e1-85c3-3defc401a590
Smith, Patten
a4bae730-e2b6-4982-b3f7-b3b2d186d37b
Sturgis, Patrick
b9f6b40c-50d2-4117-805a-577b501d0b3c
Roberts, Caroline
9d2bf675-59e8-45e1-85c3-3defc401a590
Smith, Patten
a4bae730-e2b6-4982-b3f7-b3b2d186d37b

Sturgis, Patrick, Roberts, Caroline and Smith, Patten (2010) Middle alternatives revisited: how the neither/nor response acts as a ‘face-saving’ way of saying ‘I don’t know’ (S3RI Methodology Working Papers, M10/01) Southampton, GB. Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute 25pp.

Record type: Monograph (Working Paper)

Abstract

In this paper, we use follow-up probes administered to respondents who initially select the mid-point to determine whether they selected this alternative in order to indicate opinion neutrality, or to indicate that they do not have an opinion on the issue. We find the vast majority of responses turn out to be what we term ‘face-saving don’t knows’ and that reallocating these responses from the mid-point to the don’t know category significantly alters descriptive and multivariate inferences. Our findings have important implications for the design and analysis of bipolar ratings scales.

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Published date: 10 March 2010

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 73620
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/73620
PURE UUID: af7fbb35-3933-4645-8ab0-839ac1ba3169
ORCID for Patrick Sturgis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1180-3493

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Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 15 Jan 2019 01:33

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