Offering Versus Omitting An MC And/Or A DK-O: The Consequences Linked To The Respondents’ Approach To The Topic

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The effect of different numbers of response categories is recurrently examined. Although opinions diverge, offering a five-point scale plus “don´t know” option might covers all the respondents’ needs. However, it could be that some respondents might tend to choose the “middle category” or the “don´t know” option indiscriminately, even if it would be possible to choose a more accurate solution. The paper addresses the consequences of offering versus omitting an MC or DK-O linked to the respondents’ approach to the topic. Data was collected by means of an online-survey dealing with student participation at a University in Austria. The analyses are based on 7.3% (n=1,282) of the invited students, who finished the survey. Four types of respondents were classified: “inexperienced”, “indifferent”, “irresponsible” and “regular”. The results show: The proportion of MC of inexperienced respondents decreases significantly, in case a DK-O is available. Vice versa, indifferent respondents choose a DK-O more often when an MC is not provided. Including an MC and DK-O decreases the consistency of the answers of irresponsible respondents, but excluding both does not improve the result essentially. In the end, just the consistency of answers of regular respondents is independent of the provided response scale format.
Period21 Aug 2019
Event titleESA Conference: null
Event typeConference
LocationManchester, United Kingdom