A Note on a Simple and Practical Randomized Response Framework for Eliciting Sensitive Dichotomous and Quantitative Information

Carel F. W. Peeters, Gerty J. L. M. Lensvelt-Mulders and Karin Lasthuizen, A Note on a Simple and Practical Randomized Response Framework for Eliciting Sensitive Dichotomous and Quantitative Information, Sociological Methods & Research 2010 39: 283-296.

Many issues of interest to social scientists and policy makers are of a sensitive nature in the sense that they are intrusive, stigmatizing, or incriminating to the respondent. This results in refusals to cooperate or evasive cooperation in studies using self-reports. In a seminal article, Warner (1965) proposed to curb this problem by generating an artificial variability in responses to inoculate the individual meaning of answers to sensitive questions. This procedure was further developed and extended and came to be known as the randomized response (RR) technique. Here, the authors propose a unified treatment for eliciting sensitive binary as well as quantitative information with RR based on a model where the inoculating elements are provided for by the randomization device. The procedure is simple and the authors will argue that its implementation in a computer-assisted setting may have superior practical capabilities.

Key Words: computer-assisted survey methods, randomized response, sensitive variables, statistical survey methodology

Carel F. W. Peeters, VU University Amsterdam and Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands, C.F.W.Peeters@uu.nl

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