Opinion Filters in Recreation Research: The Effect of Including No Opinion and Not Notice Response Categories in Questionnaires
Author: Hall T.E.
Source: Tourism Analysis, Volume 6, Number 1, 2001 , pp. 1-15(15)
Publisher: Cognizant Communication Corporation
The effects of varying survey question wording and format have rarely been explored in the context of recreation or tourism. This study used a split-ballot experimental design to test the effects of offering (n = 135) or omitting (n = 132) no opinion or not notice options (filters) from response frameworks for questions in a study of river boaters dealing with the effect of conditions on experiences, support for management policies, and environmental and political attitudes. Rather than leaving items blank, respondents answered according to whichever categories were provided; this led to shifts of up to 56% between the offered and omitted forms in the proportion of respondents who indicated a no opinion or not notice (nonsubstantive) answer. The magnitude of effect ranged from an average of 5% for items about management to 25% for items about the effect of conditions on experiences. Less involved respondents exhibited larger effects. Nevertheless, among those giving substantive responses, mean responses did not differ between the offered versus omitted form, suggesting that floaters (those affected by the inclusion of an opinion filter) actually hold opinions similar to other respondents. Thus, although researchers should be careful in crafting visitor surveys, including no opinion options in questions, especially those pertaining to personal values and opinions about management policies, may not be critical in recreation and tourism studies.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2001-01-01
- The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.