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Response Patterns in Computer-Administered Surveys
Unformatted Document Text:  Computer Administered Surveys 4 This study uses social desirability in order to further understanding in the application of computer surveying. Social desirability, for the purposes of this study, is operationalized as “the desire to, when asked a question, provide the answer that others (a perceived social group to which the respondent either desires to belong or does belong) would deem socially acceptable and correct” (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960). Social desirability research is most often centered around Crowne and Marlowe (1960) and their scale measuring social desirability. They use eighteen statements asking after respondents’ behavior when performing actions that are desirable to society but rare in practice, such as good table manners, and 15 statements regarding actions that are common but undesirable in society, such as revenge-seeking behaviors (Thorpe, Pittener, & Reed, 1999). Hancock and Flowers (2001) intended to examine the phenomenon of computer responses being less influenced by social desirability than paper surveys, as well as the dearth of this research’s application to surveys on the Internet. The authors’ findings were not statistically significant, though. One conclusion they had as to the nonsignificance of these findings was people are more likely to believe the Internet is not as private as their survey indicated that it was. However, they do state that computer-based surveys increase objectivity. While other work has been done using the social desirability framework (Trimble, 1997; Thorpe, Pittenger, & Reed, 1999; Meston, Heiman, & Trapnell, 1998; Cecil & Pinkerton, 1998; and Maltby & Day, 2000) none of them relate social desirability within the context of Internet research.

Authors: Roseman, Joshua. and Mitrook, Michael.
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Computer Administered Surveys
4
This study uses social desirability in order to further understanding in the application
of computer surveying. Social desirability, for the purposes of this study, is operationalized
as “the desire to, when asked a question, provide the answer that others (a perceived social
group to which the respondent either desires to belong or does belong) would deem socially
acceptable and correct” (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960).
Social desirability research is most often centered around Crowne and Marlowe (1960)
and their scale measuring social desirability. They use eighteen statements asking after
respondents’ behavior when performing actions that are desirable to society but rare in
practice, such as good table manners, and 15 statements regarding actions that are common
but undesirable in society, such as revenge-seeking behaviors (Thorpe, Pittener, & Reed,
1999).
Hancock and Flowers (2001) intended to examine the phenomenon of computer
responses being less influenced by social desirability than paper surveys, as well as the dearth
of this research’s application to surveys on the Internet. The authors’ findings were not
statistically significant, though. One conclusion they had as to the nonsignificance of these
findings was people are more likely to believe the Internet is not as private as their survey
indicated that it was. However, they do state that computer-based surveys increase
objectivity.
While other work has been done using the social desirability framework (Trimble,
1997; Thorpe, Pittenger, & Reed, 1999; Meston, Heiman, & Trapnell, 1998; Cecil &
Pinkerton, 1998; and Maltby & Day, 2000) none of them relate social desirability within the
context of Internet research.


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