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Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2018, 2(1), 27-30
DOI: 10.12691/jsa-2-1-5
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Survey Response Heaping in Constant Sum Item Formats: Considerations for Social Research

Kenneth D. Royal1, and Kristan M. Erdmann2

1Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

2Department of Athletic Training, Murray State University, Murray, KY, USA

Pub. Date: May 30, 2018

Cite this paper:
Kenneth D. Royal and Kristan M. Erdmann. Survey Response Heaping in Constant Sum Item Formats: Considerations for Social Research. Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2018; 2(1):27-30. doi: 10.12691/jsa-2-1-5


This study sought to investigate the presence of response heaping to survey items of the Constant Sum format. We hypothesized that participants would have a tendency to provide responses that are indicative of response heaping behaviors. Results indicate that participants exhibited an overwhelming tendency (99.75% of responses) to provide response heaping behaviors. Further, the sample frame utilized in this study differed significantly from previous studies that have investigated response heaping in other contexts. Our findings contrasted sharply with extant literature with respect to who is likely to engage in response heaping. We conclude that no demographic group is immune to response heaping tendencies given Constant Sum item formats. We encourage social researchers to remain cognizant of response heaping and to make every effort to mitigate its effects on measurement error, and ultimately score and measure validity.

social research survey research sociology anthropology social science error bias measurement

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