Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans United States of America
Data reliability is a common concern especially when asking about sensitive topics such as sexual misconduct, domestic violence, or drug and alcohol abuse. Sensitive topics might cause refusals in surveys due to privacy concerns of the subjects. Unit nonresponse occurs when sampled subjects fail to participate in a study; item nonresponse occurs when sampled subjects do not respond to certain survey questions. Unit nonresponse reduces sample size and study power; it might also increase bias. Respondents, on the other hand, might answer the sensitive questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others instead of answering truthfully. Social desirability bias (SDB) has long been recognized as a serious problem in surveying sensitive topics. Various indirect questioning methods have been developed to reduce SDB and increase data reliability, one of them being the randomized response technique (RRT). In this chapter, we will review some of the important indirect questioning techniques proposed for binary responses, with a special focus on RRTs. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of some of the indirect questioning techniques and describe some of the recent novel methods.
Part of the book: Statistical Methodologies