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Mutually Exclusive

Edited by: Published: 2008
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Response options to a survey question are mutually exclusive when only one response option can be true for a single respondent. Consider a survey question that asks respondents, How long do you spend commuting each day (round trip): less than 15 minutes, 15 to 30 minutes, 30 minutes to one hour, or one hour or longer? A respondent who commutes for 30 minutes each day could choose either the second or the third response option, so the options are not mutually exclusive. Because response options overlap, a researcher examining responses to this question cannot differentiate between respondents in adjacent categories. Not providing mutually exclusive response options is a common mistake made when writing survey questions. One could rewrite this survey question to have mutually exclusive ...

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