Response styles are a source of contamination in questionnaire ratings, and therefore they threaten the validity of conclusions drawn from marketing research data. In this article, the authors examine five forms of stylistic responding (acquiescence and disacquiescence response styles, extreme response style/response range, midpoint responding, and noncontingent responding) and discuss their biasing effects on scale scores and correlations between scales. Using data from large, representative samples of consumers from 11 countries of the European Union, the authors find systematic effects of response styles on scale scores as a function of two scale characteristics (the proportion of reverse-scored items and the extent of deviation of the scale mean from the midpoint of the response scale) and show that correlations between scales can be biased upward or downward depending on the correlation between the response style components. In combination with the apparent lack of concern with response styles evidenced in a secondary analysis of commonly used marketing scales, these findings suggest that marketing researchers should pay greater attention to the phenomenon of stylistic responding when constructing and using measurement instruments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Economics and Econometrics