2 Foundations and New Directions


Hamline University


Research Institute of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation


Theory has played a prominent role in the advancement of question design and evaluation. This advancement was ushered in as theories of cognitive psychology were applied to survey methodology. Prior to the advent of the cognitive aspects of survey methodology (CASM) movement, there was little theoretical discussion regarding question response. As Sudman et al. (1996) note, before this time “the work conducted in this domain suffered from a lack of theoretical perspective” (p. 7).

CASM is a critical achievement for survey methodology since theory guides the ways in which empirical research is conducted, as well as why it is conducted in the first place. It also provides insight into why some methods are more appropriate for specific types of research questions than others. Succinctly, CASM established a basis for scientific inquiry into question response and question evaluation. It also laid the foundation for establishing methodological approaches for conducting question evaluation studies.

This chapter will first describe the theoretical perspective underlying the method presented in this book. Specifically, this book is set within an interpretivist framework in which the construction of meaning is considered elemental to the question-response process. The method and methodological considerations presented in this book focus ...

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