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

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Diana Lara, Sandra G. García, Charlotte Ellertson, Carol Camlin, and Javier Suárez The Measure of Induced Abortion Levels in Mexico Using Random Response Technique Sociological Methods & Research 2006 35: 279-301.

February 7, 2010

The authors used the random response technique (RRT) to measure frequency of induced abortion in Mexico, where its practice is illegal under most circumstances. They applied RRT to a national,multistage probabilistic sample of 1,792 women ages 15 to 55. The distribution of women who reported having had an induced abortion was analyzed by sociodemographic characteristics. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with having had an induced abortion. Overall prevalence of induced abortion was 16.3 percent. Three factors were associated with reported induced abortion: having grown up in the city (bivariate odd ratio [OR] 2.16, multiple logistic OR 2.24), having never given birth (bivariate OR 1.60, multiple logistic OR 2.06), and having had an unwanted pregnancy (bivariate OR 2.09, multiple logistic OR 2.81). RRT produced a better estimation of induced abortion compared with other methodologies. This technique works best with urban and educated women.

Key Words: random response technique • induced abortion • survey methods • sensitive topics • Mexico


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