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Acquiescence Response Bias

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Edited by: Published: 2008
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Acquiescence response bias is the tendency for survey respondents to agree with statements regardless of their content.

Acquiescence response bias could influence any question in which the response options involve confirming a statement, but it may be particularly problematic with agree-disagree questions. Although many guides on writing survey questions recommend avoiding agree-disagree questions, such questions are ubiquitous in survey instruments. An agree-disagree question asks respondents to report whether they agree or disagree with a statement. For example, respondents might be asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement, It is important for the president to be a person of high moral character. Acquiescence response bias is problematic because the interpretation of an "agree" response is very different if respondents are asked whether they agree or ...

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