Samuel Himmelfarb The Multi-Item Randomized Response Technique Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 495-514.

February 7, 2010

The randomized response technique (RRT) attempts to reduce social desirability bias in self-reports by creating a probabilistic relationship between the response given and the question posed. The multi-item RRT extends the RRT procedure to scales composed of multiple items. The multi-item RRT reduces the added variability contributed by the procedure and affords more accurate estimates of parameters than does a single-item RRT. Formulas are presented for correcting the mean, standard deviation, and correlation coefficient for the procedure. Data are presented from a study (Jarman 1996) of male date rape to illustrate the application of the multi-item RRT. Those data show higher reports of rape-supportive attitudes, beliefs, and sexual aggression under RRT conditions.

Key Words: randomized response • social desirability • sensitive topics • date rape