What Do Open-Ended Questions Measure?
Geer, John Gray
"Open-ended questions are frequently used by survey researchers to measure public opinion. Some scholars, however, have doubts about how accurately these kinds of questions measure the views of the public. A chief concern is that the questions tap, in part, people's ability to articulate a response, not their underlying attitudes. This paper tests whether this concern is warranted. Using open-ended questions from the Center for Political Studies, I show that almost all people respond to open-ended questions. The few individuals who do not respond appear uninterested in the specific question posed, not unable to answer such questions in general. These findings should increase our confidence in work of scholars who have relied on open-ended questions"--From article.