[gov3009-l] Gov 3009 February 5: King

Elizabeth Stuart stuart@stat.harvard.edu
Sun, 2 Feb 2003 20:50:03 -0500 (EST)

This week's speaker at the Gov 3009 seminar is Gary King, speaking on
"Enhancing the Validity and Cross-cultural Comparability of Survey

The full paper can be found at:

Abstract: We offer a new approach to writing survey questions and a new
  statistical model that together at least partially ameliorate two
  long-standing problems in survey research.  The first is how to
  measure complicated concepts, such as freedom, health, political
  efficacy, pornography, etc., that researchers know how to define
  clearly only with reference to examples.  The second problem is when
  different respondents interpret identical survey questions in
  incomparable ways, as can occur when comparing respondents in
  different countries speaking different languages, but it also occurs
  frequently with different groups in the same country.  Our approach
  to these problems is to ask respondents for self-assessments of the
  concept being measured along with assessments, on the same scale, of
  each of several hypothetical individuals described by short
  vignettes.  The actual (but not necessarily reported) levels for the
  people in the vignettes are, by the design of the survey, invariant
  over respondents and thus provide anchors for our statistical model
  to transform the self-assessments to a comparable scale.  With
  analysis, simulations, and real surveys in several countries, we
  show how ignoring these problems can lead to the wrong substantive
  conclusions and how our approach can fix them.  Our methods build on
  insights from application-specific research on voters and
  legislators in political science to produce a more general
  measurement device.  You may also be interested in the Anchoring
  Vignettes web site, http://gking.harvard.edu/vign/, which includes
  information about conferences on the subject, a FAQ, software,
  example vignettes, and other materials.)  This is joint work with
  Christopher J.L. Murray, Joshua A. Salomon, and Ajay Tandon.

The seminar meets at noon in Room 22, Center for Basic Research
in Social Sciences (CBRSS, 34 Kirkland St., this is the yellow building
across the street from William James Hall). Contact information, previous
presentations, and the spring schedule may be found at the course web
site: http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~gov3009/.  Lunch is provided.

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Questions?  Please contact the workshop coordinator, Liz Stuart, at