As we noted in our analysis of results from the questions that were the focus of our first two articles, several approaches can be taken as we attempt to make sense of these means and variances. One approach, with regard to the means, is to take these mean (average) scores at “face-value.” If a respondent indicates that she rates a specific item as very positive (rating of +3), then we should accept this assessment by the respondent and not attempt to manipulate this assessment in some manner. Therefore, as we discuss the results from both of these questions, we will first consider the mean scores as accurate representations of the respondents’ self-perceptions regarding influence.
We also can make a legitimate claim that the mean scores should be interpreted in a comparative manner. It is not simply a matter of reporting on the mean scores recorded for these questions. There are several ways in which we must be cautious in accepting the mean scores for these two questions. Specifically, as we noted in the first two articles, there are so-called “response set” factors that can legitimately be considered when seeking to make sense of the scores recorded for these questions–though the use of a different scale for these two questions goes a long way to break up the response sets.
There is a strong judgmental factor (“social desirability”) to be assigned to the five questions we considered in the first two reports. This is less likely the case with these two questions–though it probably socially desirable to indicate that we read books, collaborate with colleagues, and go to some conferences. These actions make us look good as a coach. We appear to be thoughtful and responsible in rating these items as positive influences. In a long questionnaire, such as this one, response fatigue is also likely to settle in by the time the respondent faces these questions. Respondents are often likely to simply click on one end of the response spectrum (usually the positive end). This acquiescence response set can be particularly prevalent when the survey requires no more than clicking of the mouse on a specific response bullet. However, as noted above, the acquiescence set is broken up (to some extent) when the rating scale is shifted in the middle of the questionnaire. Those who designed this survey instrument are to be commended for introducing this variation.Download Article 1K Club