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Response Latency Methodology for Survey Research: Measurement and Modeling Strategies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Kenneth Mulligan
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Ohio State University, 2140 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210. e-mail: mulligan.30@osu.edu
J. Tobin Grant
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901. e-mail: grant@siu.edu
Stephen T. Mockabee
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Cincinnati, PO Box 210375, Cincinnati, OH 45221. e-mail: stephen.mockabee@uc.edu
Joseph Quin Monson
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602. e-mail: quin.monson@byu.edu

Abstract

In public opinion research, response latency is a measure of attitude accessibility, which is the ease or swiftness with which an attitude comes to mind when a respondent is presented with a survey question. Attitude accessibility represents the strength of the association in memory between an attitude object and an evaluation of the object. Recent research shows that attitude accessibility, as measured by response latency, casts light on a wide range of phenomena of public opinion and political behavior. We discuss response latency methodology for survey research and advocate the use of latent response latency timers (which are invisible both to respondents and interviewers) as a low cost, low-maintenance alternative to traditional methods of measuring response latency in public opinion surveys. We show that with appropriate model specification latent response latency timers may provide a suitable alternative to the more complicated and expensive interviewer-activated timers.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association 2003 

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