Questionnaire Item Difficulty

The wording of the widely-used Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Questionnaire provides useful guidance for interpreting constructs and writing items.

1) Moderate phrasing ("at times", "on occasion") is easier to agree with than extreme phrasing ("always", "never").

2) Admitting to a behavior ("I did it") is easier to agree with than correcting the behavior ("I took action about it")

3) Desire ("I want to give up smoking") is easier to agree with than commitment ("I will give up smoking").

4) Trying ("I've cut down smoking") is easier to agree with than succeeding ("I've given up smoking").


Questionnaire item difficulty. Mo F. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1996, 10:1 p.475



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