Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 201
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Avdic, Daniel and Johansson, Per 2016. Absenteeism, Gender and the Morbidity-Mortality Paradox. Journal of Applied Econometrics,

    Bhandari, Prem and Chaudhary, Indra 2016. A calendar method of collecting remittance use data in a remittance dependent setting of Nepal. Migration and Development, p. 1.

    Bzostek, Sharon Sastry, Narayan Goldman, Noreen Pebley, Anne and Duffy, Denise 2016. Using vignettes to rethink Latino-white disparities in self-rated health. Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 149, p. 46.

    Charron, Nicholas and Bågenholm, Andreas 2016. Ideology, party systems and corruption voting in European democracies. Electoral Studies, Vol. 41, p. 35.

    Crane, Melanie Rissel, Chris Greaves, Stephen and Gebel, Klaus 2016. Correcting bias in self-rated quality of life: an application of anchoring vignettes and ordinal regression models to better understand QoL differences across commuting modes. Quality of Life Research, Vol. 25, Issue. 2, p. 257.

    Farré, Lídia 2016. New evidence on the healthy immigrant effect. Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 29, Issue. 2, p. 365.

    Griffith, Richard L. Wolfeld, Leah Armon, Brigitte K. Rios, Joseph and Liu, Ou Lydia 2016. Assessing Intercultural Competence in Higher Education: Existing Research and Future Directions. ETS Research Report Series,

    Hanandita, Wulung and Tampubolon, Gindo 2016. Does reporting behaviour bias the measurement of social inequalities in self-rated health in Indonesia? An anchoring vignette analysis. Quality of Life Research, Vol. 25, Issue. 5, p. 1137.

    Klafehn, Jennifer Kell, Harrison Andrews, Jessica Barnwell, Patrick and Khan, Saad 2016. We Are What We Repeatedly Do-But in What Context? The Role of Situational Factors in Assessing Personality via Nonverbal Behavior. ETS Research Report Series,

    Knott, Rachel J. Black, Nicole Hollingsworth, Bruce and Lorgelly, Paula K. 2016. Response-Scale Heterogeneity in the EQ-5D. Health Economics, p. n/a.

    Lee, Nayoung Ridder, Geert and Strauss, John 2016. Estimation of Poverty Transition Matrices with Noisy Data. Journal of Applied Econometrics, p. n/a.

    Lolle, Henrik Lauridsen and Andersen, Jørgen Goul 2016. Measuring Happiness and Overall Life Satisfaction: A Danish Survey Experiment on the Impact of Language and Translation Problems. Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 17, Issue. 4, p. 1337.

    Mayer, Lauren A. Elliott, Marc N. Haas, Ann Hays, Ron D. and Weinick, Robin M. 2016. Less Use of Extreme Response Options by Asians to Standardized Care Scenarios May Explain Some Racial/Ethnic Differences in CAHPS Scores. Medical Care, Vol. 54, Issue. 1, p. 38.

    Molina, Teresa 2016. Reporting Heterogeneity and Health Disparities Across Gender and Education Levels: Evidence From Four Countries. Demography, Vol. 53, Issue. 2, p. 295.

    Montano, Diego Li, Jian and Siegrist, Johannes 2016. Work Stress and Health in a Globalized Economy.

    Petway, Kevin T. Brenneman, Meghan W. and Kyllonen, Patrick C. 2016. Non-cognitive Skills and Factors in Educational Attainment.

    Tareque, Md. Ismail Ikeda, Nayu Koshio, Atsushi and Hasegawa, Toshihiko 2016. Is adjustment for reporting heterogeneity necessary in sleep disorders? results from the Japanese World Health Survey. BMC Psychiatry, Vol. 16, Issue. 1,

    Vonkova, Hana Bendl, Stanislav and Papajoanu, Ondrej 2016. How Students Report Dishonest Behavior in School: Self-Assessment and Anchoring Vignettes. The Journal of Experimental Education, p. 1.

    Wu, Qiong 2016. Subjective cognitive impairment of older adults: a comparison between the US and China. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, Vol. 25, Issue. 1, p. 68.

    Xu, Hongwei and Xie, Yu 2016. Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health in China: A Reassessment with Data from the 2010–2012 China Family Panel Studies. Social Indicators Research,


Enhancing the Validity and Cross-Cultural Comparability of Measurement in Survey Research

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2004

We address two long-standing survey research problems: measuring complicated concepts, such as political freedom and efficacy, that researchers define best with reference to examples; and what to do when respondents interpret identical questions in different ways. Scholars have long addressed these problems with approaches to reduce incomparability, such as writing more concrete questions—with uneven success. Our alternative is to measure directly response category incomparability and to correct for it. We measure incomparability via respondents' assessments, on the same scale as the self-assessments to be corrected, of hypothetical individuals described in short vignettes. Because the actual (but not necessarily reported) levels of the vignettes are invariant over respondents, variability in vignette answers reveals incomparability. Our corrections require either simple recodes or a statistical model designed to save survey administration costs. With analysis, simulations, and cross-national surveys, we show how response incomparability can drastically mislead survey researchers and how our approach can alleviate this problem.

Corresponding author
David Florence Professor of Government, Harvard University, Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences, Cambridge MA 02138. (http://GKing.Harvard.Edu, King@Harvard.Edu).
Executive Director, Evidence and Information for Policy, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (
Assistant Professor of International Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Population and Development Studies, Cambridge, MA (
Health Economist, Evidence and Information for Policy, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *