Carabain, Christine

Survey research on ethnic attitudes: A comparison between open and closed


Christine Carabain PhD

Project: VU University Amsterdam

Project financed by: VU University Amsterdam

Project running from: 1 July 2001 – 1 July 2006

Supervisors: Prof. dr J. Van der Zouwen, dr H. Van den Berg, dr C.G. Van der Veer

The project concerns a comparitive stude of different methods of datacollection on behalf of the measurement of prejudice against ethnic minorities. Data collected by means of standardized interviews with closed questions on stereotypes about ethnic minorities will be compared with data collected by means of open interviewing (open interviewing is defined as an interviewing strategy in which question order and question formulations are regulated but not completely standardized and in which open questions play a dominant role) with questions on ethnic minorities in which the formulation of questions do not entail cues on the aspects to be used by respondent in mental representations and evaluations of ethnic minorities. In the comparison, attention will be paid to the role of the interviewer and respondent.
The following research questions are central to the project:

  1. Which difference in outcomes are produced between open interviews and standardized interviews in measuring prejudice?
  2. Which characteristics of the interviewing strategy play a role in the explanation of these differences?
  3. Is it possible to interpret differences in comparable outcomes in terms of validity and reliability?

Date of defence: 29 March 2007

Title of thesis: Taking too much for granted?: A study on the measurement of social attitudes.