Misreporting is the deliberate or nondeliberate reporting of inaccurate or untruthful answers to survey questions. It is often referred to as response error. While survey researchers may attempt to gather accurate and truthful responses, respondents are not always willing or able to comply. Misreporting is a major concern for data collected about sensitive topics such as abortion, prejudice, sexual behavior, and income. Misreporting can also occur in the case of nonthreatening questions. Collecting inaccurate and untruthful responses limits the validity of conclusions that can be drawn from survey data.
Respondents may be motivated to deliberately misreport answers when asked sensitive topic questions about behaviors or attitudes for four main reasons: (1) social desirability concerns, (2) protection of the respondent's own self-concept, (3) embarrassment, and (4) fear ...
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