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Assessing the Quality of Survey Data

Assessing the Quality of Survey Data

February 2012 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This is a book for any researcher using any kind of survey data. It introduces the latest methods of assessing the quality and validity of such data by providing new ways of interpreting variation and measuring error. By practically and accessibly demonstrating these techniques, especially those derived from Multiple Correspondence Analysis, the authors develop screening procedures to search for variation in observed responses that do not correspond with actual differences between respondents. Using well-known international data sets, the authors exemplify how to detect all manner of non-substantive variation having sources such as a variety of response styles including acquiescence, respondents' failure to understand questions, inadequate field work standards, interview fatigue, and even the manufacture of (partly) faked interviews.

Conceptualizing Data Quality: Respondent Attributes, Study Architecture, and Institutional Practices
Conceptualizing Response Quality

Study Architecture

Institutional Quality Control Practices

Data Screening Methodology

Chapter Outline

Empirical Findings on Quality and Comparability of Survey Data
Response Quality

Approaches to Detecting Systematic Response Errors

Questionnaire Architecture

Cognitive Maps in Cross-Cultural Perspective


Statistical Techniques for Data Screening
Principal Component Analysis

Categorical Principal Component Analysis

Multiple Correspondence Analysis


Institutional Quality Control Practices
Detecting Procedural Deficiencies

Data Duplication

Detecting Faked and Partly Faked Interviews

Data Entry Errors


Substantive or Methodology-Induced Factors? A Comparison of PCA, CatPCA and MCA Solutions
Descriptive Analysis of Personal Feelings Domain

Rotation and Structure of Data


Item Difficulty and Response Quality
Descriptive Analysis of Political Efficacy Domain

Detecting Patterns with Subset Multiple Correspondence Analysis

Moderator Effects


Questionnaire Architecture
Fatigue Effect

Question Order Effects

Measuring Data Quality: The Dirty Data Index


Cognitive Competencies and Response Quality
Data and Measures

Response Quality, Task Simplification and Complexity of Cognitive Maps



This is an innovative book. Blasius and Thiessen show how careful data-analysis can uncover defects in survey data, without having recourse to meta-data or other extra information. This is good news for researchers who work with existing data sets and wish to assess their quality
Joop Hox
Professor of social science methodology, Utrecht University

'This illuminating and innovative book on the quality of survey data focuses on screening procedures that should be conducted prior to assessing substantive relations. Numerous tables and visual displays based on appropriate analyses show convincing examples of procedural deficiencies, data duplicates, and faked interview, and unusual patterns in well known international datasets. Blasius and Thiessen discuss openly what is mostly covered in survey reporting, and they show ways to improve the reliability of conclusions based on survey data. A must for survey practitioners and users

Jaak Billiet
Emeritus professor in social methodology, University of Leuven

'I hope that many social science researchers will read Jörg Blasius and Victor Thiessen's book and realize the importance of the lesson it provides, which is that many of our data sets contain serious errors which may lead to wrong conclusions if not wrong theories. Applying the suggested tests can prevent this.
Willem Saris
Director of RECSM, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

This is an important, groundbreaking analysis of survey data quality that serves as an indispensable vade mecum for anyone engaged in gathering, analysing or utilising survey data. Clearly quality is not always what is appears to be... Assessing the Quality of Survey Data... addresses this issue in far more detail than any other work known to this reviewer.
Maryam Nazari and G. E. Gorman
Online Information Review

Assessing the Quality of Survey Data has been written for all researchers who want to be good data detectives... This book has some considerable strengths. It really got me to reflect on the assumptions I had made about data sets I had handled. It highlighted how relatively easy it is to spot data issues early on in analysis. It also made me think of response style challenges to be more than a survey design/sampling issues and to include much more data screening. Although I won’t be setting up my own detective agency, I have certainly picked up some sleuthing tips.
Catherine Owens
SR: Reviews

This book will help students learn how to assess the quality of the materials they use and of the data used for the conclusions they receive.

Dr Paula Dawidowicz
School Of Education, Walden University
October 12, 2012

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ISBN: 9781849203326
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