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Question Order Affects the Measurement of Bullying Victimization Among Middle School Students

NCJ Number
EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL MEASUREMENT Volume: 76 Issue: 5 Dated: 2016 Pages: 724-740
Frances L. Huang; Dewey G. Cornell
Date Published
17 pages
This study examined whether the order of questions in self-report surveys on bullying may influence middle-school participant responses.
Bullying among youth is recognized as a serious student problem, especially in middle school. The most common approach to measuring bullying is through student self-report surveys that ask questions about different types of bullying victimization. Although prior studies have shown that question-order effects may influence participant responses, no study has examined these effects with middle school students. The current study, a randomized experiment (n = 5,951 middle school students) that tested the question-order effect, determined that changing the sequence of questions can result in 45 percent higher prevalence rates. These findings raise questions about the accuracy of several widely used bullying surveys. (Publisher abstract modified)