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HOW TO MEASURE GENERALIZED TRUST: WORDINGS, SCALES, AND DON’T KNOWS

Conference contribution
Authors Sebastian Lundmark
Mikael Gilljam
Stefan Dahlberg
Published in World Association of Public Opinion Research 66:th Annual Conference
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Keywords Generalized trust, Question Wording, Scales, Don’t knows, Survey methodology
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Abstract

Recently, survey institutes have changed their measurement of generalized trust from the standard dichotomy to an eleven-point scale. Additionally, these survey institutes use different wordings and some of them provide a “don’t know” option. Using two survey based experiments, one on 12,000 self-selected Swedes and the other on a probability-based sample of 3,000 Swedes, this article evaluates the generalized trust question in terms of wordings, scales, and inclusion of a don’t know option. The findings suggest that, in line with the advice from Krosnick and Fabrigar (1997), generalized trust is as good measured using a minimally balanced question wording as a fully balanced; is best measured with a seven- or eleven-point scale with a neutral midpoint; and is best measured without including a don’t know option.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012
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