# Behavioral Statistics

Research Application: Writing Survey Questions to Measure a Variable
One of the learning outcomes of this course is for students to be able to write survey questions for
research and analyze the results. Consistent with this learning outcome, students will revisit the excerpt
from Bargh, Chen, and Burrows (1996) describing Experiment 2a and 2b from the Module 1 Research
Application activity. The excerpt is uploaded to the assignment link and is titled “Research Application
Module 1 Excerpt.”
For this research application activity, students will assume the role of a researcher collaborating on a
follow up study to these experiments. As described in the excerpt, the researchers primed participants
with words related to the elderly stereotype (vs. neutral words) and measured behavior afterwards by
recording the walking speed of participants when leaving the study area. They found that participants
who were exposed to the elderly stereotype words walked more slowly when exiting than those who
were exposed to neutral words.
To follow up on the study, you are aware that Experiment 2a and 2b in the excerpt were conducted
approximately 30 years ago, so you want to determine what types of attitudes people today hold
regarding elderly individuals before attempting another experiment.
To measure attitudes towards the elderly, your task is to write 4 survey questions to measure one
variable related to the elderly stereotype.
You may choose any variable that you believe is related to the elderly stereotype to measure. For
example, some people may believe that elderly individuals are more cautious when driving than younger
individuals, so you may want to measure driving ability. An example of an item to measure driving ability
could be “Elderly individuals are safer drivers than younger individuals” rated on a scale from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).
Alternatively, some people may believe that elderly individuals have little interest in participating in
common activities such as dancing, so you could measure how frequently people believe elderly
individuals dance. An example of an item to measure dancing could be “How often do you believe that
elderly individuals go dancing” rated on a scale from 1 (never) to 7 (always).
Your task as a researcher for this assignment is to identify a variable to measure that is related to the
elderly stereotype and write 4 questions to measure the variable you identify using one of the rating
scales below. You may not use driving ability or participating in dancing for the assignment because
those variables were used as examples to explain the activity. You will need to identify a different
variable to measure that is related to beliefs people may hold regarding elderly individuals.
Select one of the rating scales below to measure the variable you identify, but keep in mind that the
rating scale you select should be logically related to the variable you measure. For example, it does not
make sense to ask participants “How often do you believe that elderly individuals go dancing” and
provide a rating scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) because level of agreement does
not indicate how often something happens. Be sure the rating scale is an appropriate response to how
you state the survey items.
Rating Scale Options
Pick one rating scale from the list below. Use the same scale to measure all 4 of the questions you write.
1 – very poor
2 – poor
3 – fair
4 – good
5 – very good
6 – excellent
7 – exceptional
1 – not at all
2 – slightly
3 – somewhat
4 – moderately
5 – more than moderately
6 – very much
7 – extremely
1 – very dissatisfied
2 – moderately dissatisfied
3 – slightly dissatisfied
4 – neither dissatisfied nor satisfied
5 – slightly satisfied
6 – moderately satisfied
7 – very satisfied
1 – much lower
2 – lower
3 – somewhat lower
5 – somewhat higher
6 – higher
7 – much higher
1 – strongly disagree
2 – moderately disagree
3 – slightly disagree
4 – neither disagree nor agree
5 – slightly agree
6 – moderately agree
7 – strongly agree
1 – almost never true
2 – usually not true
3 – rarely true
4 – occasionally true
5 – often true
6 – usually true
7 – almost always true
1 – never
2 – very seldom
3 – seldom
4 – sometimes
5 – often
6 – very often
7 – always
1 – very negative
2 – somewhat negative
3 – slightly negative
4 – neutral
5 – slightly positive
6 – somewhat positive
7 – very positive
Response
1. State the variable related to the elderly stereotype that you have selected to measure in the
space below.
2. State the rating scale that you will use to measure the variable you have identified.
3. Write four items that measure the variable you have identified.
Reference
Bargh, J. A., Chen, M., & Burrows, L. (1996). Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait
construct and stereotype activation on action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(2), 230244.

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