Survey Guidelines

Response Biases in Standardised Surveys

Response biases are present in standardised surveys when the values collected from, or reported by, the respondents systematically deviate from the actual, true values. They occur when respondents react not only to the content of the survey question – the question stimulus – but also to other factors. These factors can be found in the most diverse elements of a survey: They may lie in the respondent him- or herself, in the interview situation, or in the survey instrument.

This contribution describes different types of response biases and demonstrates the influence of the interviewer/the interview situation and the questionnaire design on the occurrence of response biases.

Bogner, K., & Landrock, U. (2016). Response Biases in Standardised Surveys. GESIS Survey Guidelines. Mannheim, Germany: GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. doi: 10.15465/gesis-sg_en_016