Split Ballot Design

The transition from paper-and-pencil to computer-assisted interviewing has freed survey researchers from the constraints. Survey Analytics's split-ballot design has enabled them to conduct much more fine-grained experiments. In addition, computer-assisted interviewing allows one to record a wide array of data describing the process of filling in the survey questionnaire - also known as "paradata". These data can be used to monitor the survey process, but they can also be used in conjunction with experimental designs. This not only allows to observe the outcome effect of an experimental manipulation but also its effect on the process that let to the particular outcome.

This combination of experimental manipulations and collecting paradata is not limited to interviewer-administered surveys or laboratory-based research. With the advent of web surveys, it has become possible to conduct large-scale self-administered surveys capable of including complex experimental design, while collecting paradata.

Split Ballot Surveys

Three aspects of the most important problem question used in agenda-setting research to measure issue salience among the public were examined. A split-ballot in a state-wide survey compared versions of the public agenda with a social frame of reference versus a personal frame of reference, versions using the traditional term problem versus issue, and the effects of question order. High correlations between the different versions were found in all three sets of comparisons.

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