Skip to content

Can you trust international surveys? A follow-up:

Michael Robbins writes:

A few years ago you covered a significant controversy in the survey methods literature about data fabrication in international survey research. Noble Kuriakose and I put out a proposed test for data quality.

At the time there were many questions raised about the validity of this test. As such, I thought you might find a new article [How to Get Better Survey Data More Efficiently, by Mollie Cohen and Zach Warner] in Political Analysis of significant interest. It provides pretty strong external validation of our proposal but also provides a very helpful guide of the effectiveness of different strategies for detecting fabrication and low quality data in international survey research.

I’ve not read this new paper—it’s hard to find the time, what with writing 400 blog posts a year etc!—but I like the general idea of developing statistical methods to check data quality. Data collection and measurement are not covered enough in our textbooks or our research articles—think about all those papers that never tell you the wording of their survey questions! And remember that notorious Lancet Iraq study, or that North-Korea-is-a-democracy study.

Leave a Reply