International Journal of Public Opinion Research vol:25 issue:2 pages:195-217
Although the purpose of questionnaire items is to obtain a person’s opinion on a certain matter, a respondent’s registered opinion may not reflect his or her “true” opinion because of random and systematic errors. Response styles (RSs) are a respondent’s tendency to respond to survey questions in certain ways regardless of the content, and they contribute to systematic error. They affect univariate and multivariate distributions of data collected by rating scales and are alternative explanations for many research results. Despite this, RS are often not controlled in research. This article provides a comprehensive summary of the types of RS, lists their potential sources, and discusses ways to diagnose and control for them. Finally, areas for further research on RS are proposed.