Do rotten apples spoil the whole barrel?

Date of publication: October 28, 2007

Catalogue: Panel Research 2007


This paper will examine the nature and probable causes of inattentive or fraudulent respondent behaviour. As researchers, we are constantly aware of the kinds of errors and biases that threaten the reliability and validity of our studies at every step of the research process. Although we do not have complete solutions for problems such as framing errors, selective non-response and interviewer bias, at least we have a long history of dealing with these issues, and have developed methods for estimating the possible risks involved. More recently, increased attention has been given to the type of error that can arise because of inattentive or fraudulent respondent behaviour. We believe this type of error deserves the increased attention, but we also feel that the researcher can exercise considerable control over this type of error.

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