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Method effects in survey questions about peer victimization


Averdijk, M; Eisner, Manuel; Ribeaud, Denis (2013). Method effects in survey questions about peer victimization. In: Ruiter, S; Bernasco, W; Huisman, W; Bruinsma, G. Eenvoud & verscheidenheid : Liber amicorum voor Henk Elffers. Amsterdam: Nederlands Studiecentrum Criminaliteit en Rechtshandhaving, 425-439.

Abstract

Although methodological issues in victimization surveys have received a fair amount of attention in research with adults or adolescents, this is much less the case in studies with children. This is surprising given the specific challenges of the latter field. Young children may not have the cognitive capacities to provide reliable and valid survey answers. Some researchers have therefore relied on parents’, teachers’, or peers’ accounts. However, few studies have assessed to what extent different informants provide similar answers. There is also little knowledge about other methodological issues, including the extent to which interviewers and interview situations influence victimization rates. In this paper, we investigated four methodological issues, namely whether the reporting of peer victimization differed by (1) who asks the question, (2) who answers the question, (3) how often the question is asked, and (4) where the question is asked. We found that, first, 6% of the variation in child-reported victimization rates was due to the interviewers. This suggests that despite extensive interviewer training and the use of computer-assisted interviewing techniques there persist differences in interviewers’ output. Second, agreement between the children and the teachers was low. This is in line with low cross-informant agreement on other measures such as aggression, conduct disorder, or depressive symptoms at this age. In particular, the less an experience or behavior can be openly observed the less the accounts by different observers coincide. Third, there was little selective non-participation regarding victimization. Fourth, it did not matter whether the survey took place at school or at home.

Abstract

Although methodological issues in victimization surveys have received a fair amount of attention in research with adults or adolescents, this is much less the case in studies with children. This is surprising given the specific challenges of the latter field. Young children may not have the cognitive capacities to provide reliable and valid survey answers. Some researchers have therefore relied on parents’, teachers’, or peers’ accounts. However, few studies have assessed to what extent different informants provide similar answers. There is also little knowledge about other methodological issues, including the extent to which interviewers and interview situations influence victimization rates. In this paper, we investigated four methodological issues, namely whether the reporting of peer victimization differed by (1) who asks the question, (2) who answers the question, (3) how often the question is asked, and (4) where the question is asked. We found that, first, 6% of the variation in child-reported victimization rates was due to the interviewers. This suggests that despite extensive interviewer training and the use of computer-assisted interviewing techniques there persist differences in interviewers’ output. Second, agreement between the children and the teachers was low. This is in line with low cross-informant agreement on other measures such as aggression, conduct disorder, or depressive symptoms at this age. In particular, the less an experience or behavior can be openly observed the less the accounts by different observers coincide. Third, there was little selective non-participation regarding victimization. Fourth, it did not matter whether the survey took place at school or at home.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:23 Aug 2019 10:18
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:20
Publisher:Nederlands Studiecentrum Criminaliteit en Rechtshandhaving
ISBN:9789090277066
OA Status:Closed

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