Assessing Mode Effects in a National Crime Victimization Survey using Structural Equation Models: Social Desirability Bias and Acquiescence
Dirk Heerwegh, Geert Loosveldt
The study compared Likert-scale responses obtained in a mixed mode survey using a telephone and a mail national crime victimization survey in Belgium. Theoretically, more socially desirable responses and more acquiescence were expected in the telephone survey. Results showed that, consistent with the social desirability hypothesis, responses were significantly more positive in the telephone survey, but no evidence was found for differences in acquiescence across the survey modes. These results were obtained with structural equation models (SEM). In addition to accounting for differences in sample composition in non-experimental data by including covariates, an SEM also allows dealing with a wide variety of mode effects not usually considered in empirical mixed mode research, such as interaction effects, differential item functioning, and the structure of measurement errors. Analyses detected an interpretable interaction effect between age and survey mode in this study, illustrating the usefulness of the SEM method in mixed mode research.
Multimode survey, hybrid survey, telephone survey, mail survey