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

November 12, 2010

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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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


Maarten J. L. F. Cruyff, Ardo van den Hout, Peter G. M. van der Heijden, and Ulf Böckenholt Log-Linear Randomized-Response Models Taking Self-Protective Response Behavior Into Account Sociological Methods & Research 2007 36: 266-282.

February 7, 2010

Randomized response (RR) is an interview technique designed to eliminate response bias when sensitive questions are asked. In RR the answer depends partly on the true status of the respondent and partly on the outcome of a randomizing device. Although RR elicits more honest answers than direct questions do, it is susceptible to self-protective response behavior; that is, the respondent gives an evasive answer irrespective of the outcome of the randomizing device. The authors present a log-linear RR model that accounts for this kind of self-protection (SP). The main results of this SP model are estimates of (1) the probability of SP, (2) the log-linear parameters describing the associations between the sensitive characteristics, and (3) the prevalence of the sensitive characteristics that are corrected for SP. The model is illustrated with two examples from a Dutch survey measuring noncompliance with social welfare rules.

Key Words: randomized response • log-linear model • self-protective response behavior • regulatory noncompliance


Gerty J. L. M. Lensvelt-Mulders, Joop J. Hox, Peter G. M. van der Heijden, and Cora J. M. Maas, Meta-Analysis of Randomized Response Research: Thirty-Five Years of Validation, Sociological Methods & Research 2005 33: 319-348.

February 7, 2010

This article discusses two meta-analyses on randomized response technique (RRT) studies, the first on 6 individual validation studies and the second on 32 comparative studies. The meta-analyses focus on the performance of RRTs compared to conventional question-and-answermethods. The authors use the percentage of incorrect answers as effect size for the individual validation studies and the standardized difference score (d-probit) as effect size for the comparative studies. Results indicate that compared to other methods, randomized response designs result in more valid data. For the individual validation studies, the mean percentage of incorrect answers for the RRT condition is .38; for the other conditions, it is .49. The more sensitive the topic under investigation, the higher the validity of RRT results. However, both meta-analyses have unexplained residual variances across studies, which indicates that RRTs are not completely under the control of the researcher.

Key Words: randomized response • meta-analysis • multilevel • sensitive topics