Laura Madson has devised a fun activity  that helps students  learn that

The activity starts by having one half the class respond to one version of a six-item survey while the other half responds to a differently worded version of that same survey. If you use this activity with Chapter 9 of Research design explained, you can use it as a bridge between the survey chapter and Chapter 9, to introduce students to simple experiments, and to give students practice in analyzing data. To use this activity with Chapter 9, have students use our computerized survey experiment. On arriving at that page, students randomly receive one of two versions of a six-item survey. Version 1 (Condition 1) leads students to (a) give more conservative responses because of the tendency to agree with items and because one of the questions is leading and (b) say that they study more (because students are free to interpret what studying " a lot" is). Version 2 differs from Version 1 in three main respects: (a) agreement with a Version 2 question (e.g., question 1, " Most women are better suited emotionally for politics than most men" is equivalent to disagreeing with the corresponding question on the Version 1 form:" Most men are better suited emotionally for politics than most women"), (b) a leading question ( "Given the failure of welfare in the United States, welfare programs should be eliminated.") is modified to "Welfare programs should be continued," and (c) students are told what "studying alot" is (more than 20 hours a week).

A data file containing each participant's condition number (Condition 1 or Condition 2) and each participant's responses to the six question (responses to the Condition 2 survey are reverse scored) is available from this link.

To understand the structure of the data file, suppose four participants all participated in the survey on January 18, 2005, between 8:28 and 8:35 in the morning, and all used the same computer (one with the IP address 80.204.176.13). The first participant was in Condition 1 and strongly disagreed with all six items. The second participant was also in Condition 1 but strongly agreed with all six items. The third participant was in Condition 2 and strongly disagreed with all six items (note that the computer will reverse score that participants' responses). The fourth participant received the second version of the survey and strongly agreed with all six items (again, note that the comptuer will reverse score responses from the second version of the survey). In that case, the data file will look like the following:

0/18/105, 8:33:1, 80.204.176.13, Condition 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 endline
0/18/105, 8:34:41, 80.204.176.13, Condition 1, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7 endline
0/18/105, 8:28:41, 80.204.176.13, Condition 2, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7 endline
0/18/105, 8:31:2, 80.204.176.13, Condition 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 endline

If you want to create a data file that contains only the data from your students, tell your students to put a certain number (e.g., 8) in the code number box. For example, if all your students put the number 8 in the code number box, their data will be stored in the file http://markwebtest.netfirms.com/data/randfakesurvey8.txt
If, on the other hand, they all put the number 66 in the box, their data will be stored in the file
http://markwebtest.netfirms.com/data/randfakesurvey66.txt

For more information, see

Madson, L. (2005). Demonstrating the importance of question wording on surveys. Teaching of Psychology, 32, 40-43.


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