Statistics Dictionary

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Response Bias

In survey sampling, response bias refers to the bias that results from problems in the measurement process. Some examples of response bias are given below.

  • Leading questions. The wording of the question may be loaded in some way to unduly favor one response over another. For example, a satisfaction survey may ask the respondent to indicate where she is satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatified. By giving the respondent one response option to express satisfaction and two response options to express dissatisfaction, this survey question is biased toward getting a dissatisfied response.

  • Social desirability. Most people like to present themselves in a favorable light, so they will be reluctant to admit to unsavory attitudes or illegal activities in a survey, particularly if survey results are not confidential. Instead, their responses may be biased toward what they believe is socially desirable.
See also:   Bias in Survey Sampling