When respondents answer paper-and-pencil (PP) questionnaires, they sometimes modify their responses to correspond to previously answered items. As a result, this response bias might artificially inflate the reliability of PP questionnaires. We compared the internal consistency of PP questionnaires to computerized questionnaires that presented a different number of items on a computer screen simultaneously. Study 1 showed that a PP questionnaire's internal consistency was higher than that of the same questionnaire presented on a computer screen with one, two or four questions per screen. Study 2 replicated these findings to show that internal consistency was also relatively high when all questions were shown on one screen. This suggests that the differences found in Study 1 were not due to the difference in presentation medium. Thus, this paper suggests that reliability measures of PP questionnaires might be inflated because of a response bias resulting from participants cross-checking their answers against ones given to previous questions. Accessed 17,831 times on https://pareonline.net from June 20, 2011 to December 31, 2019. For downloads from January 1, 2020 forward, please click on the PlumX Metrics link to the right.
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Peer, Eyal and Gamliel, Eyal
"Too reliable to be true? Response bias as a potential source of inflation in paper-and-pencil questionnaire reliability,"
Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation: Vol. 16
, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/pare/vol16/iss1/9