Response Scales: Effects of Category Range on Reported Behavior and Comparative Judgments

Schwarz, Norbert; Hippler, Hans-J.; Deutsche, Brigitte; Strack, Fritz
September 1985
Public Opinion Quarterly;Fall85, Vol. 49 Issue 3, p388
Academic Journal
The article focuses on effects of the range of response categories provided in a closed answer format on behavioral reports and subsequent judgments. Respondents were to use the range of behaviors described in the response alternatives as a frame of reference in estimating and evaluating their own behavior. The experiment was carried out in March/April 1983 as part of a larger survey with 132 German adults. Respondents were randomly assigned to conditions and had to report how many hours they watched television daily. An examination of respondents' behavioral reports indicates that those who were presented the low range scale tended to choose categories in the middle of the list, whereas respondents who were presented the high range scale tended to endorse the first category provided. The range of the response scale affected respondents' behavioral reports as expected.


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