Decomposition Can Harm the Accuracy of Behavioural Frequency Reports

Robert F. Belli, Norbert Schwarz, Eleanor Singer, Jennifer Talarico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In survey research, the use of decomposition can lead to pronounced reporting errors as seen by overreporting and overall reporting error. A total of 87 subjects answered either decomposed or undecomposed questions concerning telephone calls made by them while at work. The questionnaire conditions varied the length of the reference period (1 week or 6 months), and the type of call (local or long-distance). Decomposition conditions introduced either spatial or temporal cues. In all comparisons, decomposed questions increased overreporting bias relative to undecomposed questions. In addition, undecomposed questions with a 1-week reference period led to increased overreporting bias in comparison to undecomposed/ 6-month questions. Results are consistent with a category split estimation model in which smaller categories are predicted to lead to overreporting, and larger categories to underreporting. Decomposition is not recommended for gaining retrospective reports of nondistinctive, frequent events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-308
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Fingerprint

Telephone
Cues
Research
Surveys and Questionnaires
Harm
Decomposition
Questionnaire
Length
Split
Telephone Calls
Survey Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Decomposition Can Harm the Accuracy of Behavioural Frequency Reports. / Belli, Robert F.; Schwarz, Norbert; Singer, Eleanor; Talarico, Jennifer.

In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 14, No. 4, 01.01.2000, p. 295-308.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Belli, Robert F. ; Schwarz, Norbert ; Singer, Eleanor ; Talarico, Jennifer. / Decomposition Can Harm the Accuracy of Behavioural Frequency Reports. In: Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2000 ; Vol. 14, No. 4. pp. 295-308.
@article{bda981deff724e88af19b58bb326d863,
title = "Decomposition Can Harm the Accuracy of Behavioural Frequency Reports",
abstract = "In survey research, the use of decomposition can lead to pronounced reporting errors as seen by overreporting and overall reporting error. A total of 87 subjects answered either decomposed or undecomposed questions concerning telephone calls made by them while at work. The questionnaire conditions varied the length of the reference period (1 week or 6 months), and the type of call (local or long-distance). Decomposition conditions introduced either spatial or temporal cues. In all comparisons, decomposed questions increased overreporting bias relative to undecomposed questions. In addition, undecomposed questions with a 1-week reference period led to increased overreporting bias in comparison to undecomposed/ 6-month questions. Results are consistent with a category split estimation model in which smaller categories are predicted to lead to overreporting, and larger categories to underreporting. Decomposition is not recommended for gaining retrospective reports of nondistinctive, frequent events.",
author = "Belli, {Robert F.} and Norbert Schwarz and Eleanor Singer and Jennifer Talarico",
year = "2000",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/1099-0720(200007/08)14:4<295::AID-ACP646>3.0.CO;2-1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "14",
pages = "295--308",
journal = "Applied Cognitive Psychology",
issn = "0888-4080",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Decomposition Can Harm the Accuracy of Behavioural Frequency Reports

AU - Belli, Robert F.

AU - Schwarz, Norbert

AU - Singer, Eleanor

AU - Talarico, Jennifer

PY - 2000/1/1

Y1 - 2000/1/1

N2 - In survey research, the use of decomposition can lead to pronounced reporting errors as seen by overreporting and overall reporting error. A total of 87 subjects answered either decomposed or undecomposed questions concerning telephone calls made by them while at work. The questionnaire conditions varied the length of the reference period (1 week or 6 months), and the type of call (local or long-distance). Decomposition conditions introduced either spatial or temporal cues. In all comparisons, decomposed questions increased overreporting bias relative to undecomposed questions. In addition, undecomposed questions with a 1-week reference period led to increased overreporting bias in comparison to undecomposed/ 6-month questions. Results are consistent with a category split estimation model in which smaller categories are predicted to lead to overreporting, and larger categories to underreporting. Decomposition is not recommended for gaining retrospective reports of nondistinctive, frequent events.

AB - In survey research, the use of decomposition can lead to pronounced reporting errors as seen by overreporting and overall reporting error. A total of 87 subjects answered either decomposed or undecomposed questions concerning telephone calls made by them while at work. The questionnaire conditions varied the length of the reference period (1 week or 6 months), and the type of call (local or long-distance). Decomposition conditions introduced either spatial or temporal cues. In all comparisons, decomposed questions increased overreporting bias relative to undecomposed questions. In addition, undecomposed questions with a 1-week reference period led to increased overreporting bias in comparison to undecomposed/ 6-month questions. Results are consistent with a category split estimation model in which smaller categories are predicted to lead to overreporting, and larger categories to underreporting. Decomposition is not recommended for gaining retrospective reports of nondistinctive, frequent events.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0007067545&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0007067545&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/1099-0720(200007/08)14:4<295::AID-ACP646>3.0.CO;2-1

DO - 10.1002/1099-0720(200007/08)14:4<295::AID-ACP646>3.0.CO;2-1

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0007067545

VL - 14

SP - 295

EP - 308

JO - Applied Cognitive Psychology

JF - Applied Cognitive Psychology

SN - 0888-4080

IS - 4

ER -