Little is known about the measurement quality of questions in web surveys, even if, this information is crucial to design better questionnaires and to correct for measurement errors in substantive analyses. This paper aims to cover this gap by answering the following four objectives. The first objective, is to evaluate the measurement quality of a set of survey questions from two Multitrait-Multimethod (MTMM) experiments implemented in the 5th wave of the Norwegian Citizen Panel ; one of the few probability-based online panels existing at this day. Each experiment is designed to evaluate three different formulations of the response scale for the topics: political satisfaction and trust in the institutions. The second objective is to predict the measurement quality of these questions by its design characteristics, using the software Survey Quality Predictor (SQP). The third, is to compare the quality of the different formulations of the response scale used. The fourth, is to compare both the MTMM and the SQP approaches to assess whether both can lead to similar results when evaluating web survey questions. Overall, measurements’ quality is quite high (between 0.60 and 0.89), and similar between the estimates obtained from the MTMM experiments and the SQP predictions. On the one hand, we conclude that when comparing the different scales, the horizontal 11-point scale with 2 fixed reference points and ordered from negative to positive, usually, provides the highest quality. On the other hand, we conclude that SQP can provide as accurate quality predictions as MTMM can estimate the quality for web survey questions. Given that each approach has its advantages and limitations, when possible we recommend using both to correct for measurement errors, as kind of sensitivity analysis.
Opinion polls may inadvertently affect public opinion, as people may change their attitudes after learning what others think. A disconcerting possibility is that opinion polls have the ability to create information cascades, wherein the majority opinion becomes increasingly larger over time. Testing poll influence on attitudes toward Syrian refugees and mandatory measles vaccination, we field survey experiments on a probability-based online survey panel. Through a novel automated procedure labeled the dynamic response feedback, we measure whether the answers from early poll respondents can influence the opinions of subsequent respondents who learn the answers of the previous respondents. Using this procedure, no feedback loops are identified.
The point of departure for this thesis is the inconsistency between national goals to conserve farmland, and the local management of this natural resource, which prevents Norway from complying with its national goals. The research question is: What role do party politics play in the management of Norwegian land resources? The state wants a high level of food security, and therefore needs land to be conserved for food production purposes. On the other hand many municipalities are experiencing growth and have needs for houses, industries, public buildings and infrastructure. According to theory on multi-level democracy the state will apply hard governmental tools when there is a conflict between national and local goals. Even though such a conflict exists in this case, I find that local politicians have a relatively large room for manoeuvre in the management of farmland. I expect the parties’ agricultural ideology and municipal ideology to play out in how local politicians manage farmland. By content analysis of the party programs I place the parties along these two cleavages and find that the political parties do differ considerably on how strongly agricultural property should be regulated, and how much power should be decentralised on issues concerning land use. Through a survey question on land use in the seventh round of the Norwegian Citizen Panel I further find that respondents differ in the same way as the parties they would vote for along the cleavage of agricultural ideology. Still, regression analysis on farmland conversion in Norwegian municipalities shows that none of the cleavages have a statistically significant effect on the local management of farmland. To find out why this is not the case, I execute a comparative case study of the two municipalities of Spydeberg and Hobøl. They are chosen through a Most Similar Systems Design as they are equal in every geographic and demographic respect, but they converted a very different amount of farmland in the four-year-period before and after 2011. Both also experienced a change in party leadership in 2011, and therefore reflect the apparent lacking party effect on local management of farmland. By interviewing politicians and others working with farmland conversion, I find that most of them consider party politics to be very important locally, even though it is not reflected in how much farmland that is actually converted. The main finding of the thesis is that conservation of farmland is weighted in a local context, not in a party political one.