Survey Research and Rasch, Otis Dudley Duncan

The application of Rasch techniques to provide measurement and obtain meaning from cross-tabulated data produced by standard statistical surveys is described by Otis Dudley Duncan in "Surveying Subjective Phenomena" (Turner & Martin, NY: Russell Sage, 1984)

In Vol. 1, Section 6.4, Duncan reviews the measurement properties of the Rasch model and applies it to a cross- classification of responses to questions in the 1977 General Social survey. He uses the Rasch model to determine whether local independence between classification cells is approximated and to identify significant interaction. Once the rows or columns showing significant non-independence are eliminated, the ratios between row margins become the odds estimates of the social entities (demographics) and similarly the ratios of the column margins become the odds estimates of the dispositions (attitudes). These estimates define the variable. In Vol. 2, Section 12, Duncan extends this to other types of attitude surveys in which responses are classified and counted by group.

Duncan concludes that "As long as we are content merely to find models sufficiently flexible to fit available [social survey] data acceptably well, only by happenstance will we achieve what can be termed measurement.. Nor will we know whether Rasch measurement can be carried out in a deliberate way in surveys until we try very hard to do it.. Nevertheless, as the example from the Elmira panel study [of a political campaign] suggests, under favorable conditions we may actually be able to tell the difference between changes in disposition and changes in the social entity to which the disposition relates, thereby achieving the separation of the measures of the two things that only Rasch's approach provides" (p.400).

Survey Research, O D Duncan … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1991, 5:2 p. 143

Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
in Spanish: Análisis de Rasch para todos, Agustín Tristán Mediciones, Posicionamientos y Diagnósticos Competitivos, Juan Ramón Oreja Rodríguez

To be emailed about new material on
please enter your email address here:

I want to Subscribe: & click below
I want to Unsubscribe: & click below

Please set your SPAM filter to accept emails from welcomes your comments:

Your email address (if you want us to reply):


ForumRasch Measurement Forum to discuss any Rasch-related topic

Go to Top of Page
Go to index of all Rasch Measurement Transactions
AERA members: Join the Rasch Measurement SIG and receive the printed version of RMT
Some back issues of RMT are available as bound volumes
Subscribe to Journal of Applied Measurement

Go to Institute for Objective Measurement Home Page. The Rasch Measurement SIG (AERA) thanks the Institute for Objective Measurement for inviting the publication of Rasch Measurement Transactions on the Institute's website,

Coming Rasch-related Events
June 23 - July 21, 2023, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps),
Aug. 11 - Sept. 8, 2023, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets),


The URL of this page is