Journal articles

Here you will find journal articles using the Norwegian Citizen Panel or the Citizen Lab. You will also find journal articles from DIGSSCORE-affiliated researchers working on related methods or themes.

This paper calls attention to what is arguably the most notable advancement in survey experiments over the last decade: conjoint designs. The benefit of conjoint design is its capacity to study and compare the causal effects of several dimensions simultaneously. Although survey experiments have long been a preferred method for assessing causal effects, the method falls short when studying multidimensional causal relations.

Researchers face a trade-off between a lack of statistical power or a restriction in experimental conditions. Conjoint designs solve this problem by letting the researcher vary an indefinite number of factors in one experiment. This method is quickly gaining ground in social and political science but has yet to be widely practiced in political communication research. This article argues that conjoint designs are ideal for studying political communication effects and highlights the possible benefits of using and innovating conjoint designs in political communication research. We make available sample scripts and demonstrate the value of this methodological technique through empirical examples of trust in news media and selective exposure to political news.

Sveinung Arnesen, Kristine Bærøe, Cornelius Cappelen, and Benedicte Carlsen. 5/9/2018. “Could information about herd immunity help us achieve herd immunity? Evidence from a population representative survey experiment.” Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. Find article here Abstract
Aims: Immunisation causes dramatic reductions in morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases; however, resistance to vaccination is nonetheless widespread. An understudied issue – explored here – is whether appeals to collective as opposed to individual benefits of vaccination encourage people to vaccinate. Knowledge of this is important not least with respect to the design of public health campaigns, which often lack information about the collective benefits of vaccination. Methods: Using a between-subjects experimental survey design, we test whether information about the effects of herd immunity influences people’s decision to vaccinate. A representative sample of Norwegians was confronted with a hypothetical scenario in which a new and infectious disease is on its way to Norway. The sample was split in three – a control group and two treatment groups. The one treatment group was provided information about collective benefits of vaccination; the other was provided information about the individual benefits of vaccination. Results: Both treatments positively affect people’s decision to vaccinate; however, informing about the collective benefits has an even stronger effect than informing about the individual benefits. Conclusions: Our results suggest that people’s decision about whether to vaccinate and thus contribute to herd immunity is influenced by concern for others. Thus, stressing the collective benefits of vaccination could increase the effectiveness of health campaigns.
Øyvind Gjerstad and Kjersti Fløttum. 2017. “Stories about Climate Change in Political and Survey Discourse.” Bergen Language and Linguistic Studies (BeLLS), 7. Find article here Abstract

This article discusses the notion of narrative and its relevance in the analysis of different genres of climate change discourse. Two distinct genres are studied, the first of which is the political speech, exemplified by French President François Hollande’s prepared remarks at the climate change conference (COP21) in Paris in late 2015. The second genre has not yet received a label, but can be called “survey discourse”. This refers to answers to open-ended questions in a survey undertaken by the Norwegian Citizen Panel in 2015, where respondents answer freely in their own words the following question: “Concerning climate change, what do you think should be done?” The differences between the two genres are manifold. A political speech is carefully drafted by professionals and represents an institutional commitment by a leader, whereas survey answers are formulated by anonymous, non-specialist respondents, who are not bound by their statements in any way. Despite such differences, our findings will show that all the texts in question comprise a plot where the different characters (heroes, victims, and villains) are integrated into the unfolding ‘story’, thus reflecting the socially pervasive nature of narratives.

Paul M. Sniderman. 5/2018. “Some Advances in the Design of Survey Experiments.” Annual Review of Political Science, 21, Pp. 259-275. Download article here Abstract
This article calls attention to some designs in survey experiments that give new leverage in hypothesis testing and validation. The premise of this review is the modesty of survey experiments—modesty of treatment, modesty of scale, modesty of measurement. The focus of this review, accordingly, is the compensating virtues of modesty. With respect to hypothesis testing, I spotlight (a) cross-category comparisons, (b) null-by-design experiments, (c) explication, (d) conjoint designs, and (e) sequential factorials. With respect to validation regimes, I discuss (a) parallel studies, (b) paired designs, and (c) splicing. Throughout, the emphasis is on moving from experiment in the singular to experiments in the plural, learning as you go.
Can international courts impact public opinion? There are many reasons to think not. The growing prominence of international courts in the domestic public sphere requires though reconsideration of this presumption. This experimental study takes the existing US-centric research on the effects of courts on public opinion a step further by testing whether the level of a court matters, whether domestic, international or even foreign. A panel of respondents in Norway were tested as to their views on prostitution laws and family rights to asylum after the random informational ‘treatments’ based on the decisions and reasoning of different courts. The overall shift in opinion was statistically significant but only when respondents received a double treatment of reasoning and judicial authority. Surprisingly, respondents receiving this information moderated their opinions regardless of the identity of the court. Similar impacts were generated when courts were replaced with non-judicial but authoritative actors such as the United Nations or Amnesty International. Nonetheless, the results, for at least Norway, lend support to a transpositional theory of international courts while casting doubt on ideas of credible commitment. It is the endorsement by a court not the type of a court that it is critical for inflecting public opinion.
Erik Knudsen, Magnus Hoem Iversen, and Eirik Vatnøy. 2018. “Mistillit til den andre siden. Ideologisk selektiv eksponering og tillit til røde og blå medier,” 25, 2, Pp. 1-20. Read here Abstract

I denne studien undersøker vi forskjeller i hvordan folk på høyre- og venstresiden forholder seg til nyhetsmedier som er forankret på høyre- eller venstresiden i norsk politikk. Vi studerer hvordan individer med ulike politiske preferanser anser aviser som betydningsfulle og troverdige nyhetskilder. Vi finner klare forskjeller blant folk som plasserer seg på høyre- og venstresiden når det gjelder tillit til en dagsavis på venstresiden (Klassekampen). Vi finner motsatt mønster for en dagsavis assosiert med høyresiden (Dagens Næringsliv), men her er forskjellen mellom venstre- og høyresiden ikke statistisk signifikant. Videre finner vi at forskjellene for Klassekampen modereres noe, men forblir statistisk signifikant dersom vi kontrollerer for hvor viktig avisen er som kilde til nyheter. Altså tyder våre funn på at forskjeller mellom høyre- og venstresidens tillit til Klassekampen varierer uavhengig av hvor viktig avisen er som kilde til nyheter. Funnene diskuteres i lys av litteraturen om selektiv eksponering og selektiv tillit.

Nøkkelord: tillit til journalistikk, tillit til medier, selektiv eksponering, selektiv tillit, surveydata

A number of studies from the USA have shown that people seek out information that does not challenge their worldview. People are less likely to read and trust media sources they disagree with ideologically. However, we have little knowledge regarding these trends in the Norwegian context. In this study, we examine the relationship between people’s ideology (left/right scale) and their use of and trust in newspapers that have historically been affiliated to the left and the right side of politics. We find clear differences between respondents on the left and the right when it comes to media use and trust in media for a left-leaning paper (Klassekampen). The differences in trust remain significant after controlling for selective exposure. The same differences are not found for a right-leaning newspaper (Dagens Næringsliv). These findings are discussed in light of the literature on selective exposure and selective trust.

Keywords: trust in journalism, trust in media, selective exposure, selective trust, survey research

Eirik Strømland, Sigve Tjøtta, and Gaute Torsvik. 5/20/2018. “Mutual choice of partner and communication in a repeated prisoner's dilemma.” Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 75, Pp. 12-23. Find at journal Abstract
Many markets resemble repeated prisoner's dilemma situations with the possibilities for mutual partner choice. In this paper, we show experimentally that partner choice by mutual consent has a strong positive effect on cooperation. Mutual partner choice makes it possible to form long-lasting reciprocal partnerships. To understand partnership formation we also add a treatment where the participants could communicate with each other in a common chat room. Chat transcript reveals that promises are important in forming and sustaining a partnership.
Oriol J. Bosch, Melanie Revilla, Anna DeCastellarnau, and Wiebke Weber. 3/15/2018. “Measurement Reliability, Validity, and Quality of Slider Versus Radio Button Scales in an Online Probability-Based Panel in Norway.” Social Science Computer Review. Find at journal Abstract
Little is known about the reliability and validity in web surveys, although this is crucial information to evaluate how accurate the results might be and/or to correct for measurement errors. In particular, there are few studies based on probability-based samples for web surveys, looking at web-specific response scales and considering the impact of having smartphone respondents. In this article, we start filling these gaps by estimating the measurement quality of sliders compared to radio button scales controlling for the device respondents used. We conducted therefore two multitrait–multimethod (MTMM) experiments in the Norwegian Citizen Panel (NCP), a probability-based online panel. Overall, we find that if smartphone respondents represent a nonnegligible part of the whole sample, offering the response options in form of a slider or a radio button scale leads to a quite similar measurement quality. This means that sliders could be used more often without harming the data quality. Besides, if there are no smartphone respondents, we find that sliders can also be used, but that the marker should be placed initially in the middle rather than on the left side. However, in practice, there is no need to shift from radio buttons to sliders since the quality is not highly improved by providing sliders.
Tobias H. Stark, Henning Silber, Jon A. Krosnick, Annelies G. Blom, Midori Aoyagi, Ana Belchior, Michael Bosnjak, Sanne Lund Clement, Melvin John, Guðbjörg Andrea Jónsdóttir, Karen Lawson, Peter Lynn, Johan Martinsson, Ditte Shamshiri-Petersen, Endre Tvinnereim, and Ruoh-rong Yu. 2/27/2018. “Generalization of Classic Question Order Effects Across Cultures.” Sociological Methods and Research. Find at journal Abstract
Questionnaire design is routinely guided by classic experiments on question form, wording, and context conducted decades ago. This article explores whether two question order effects (one due to the norm of evenhandedness and the other due to subtraction or perceptual contrast) appear in surveys of probability samples in the United States and 11 other countries (Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom; N = 25,640). Advancing theory of question order effects, we propose necessary conditions for each effect to occur, and found that the effects occurred in the nations where these necessary conditions were met. Surprisingly, the abortion question order effect even appeared in some countries in which the necessary condition was not met, suggesting that the question order effect there (and perhaps elsewhere) was not due to subtraction or perceptual contrast. The question order effects were not moderated by education. The strength of the effect due to the norm of evenhandedness was correlated with various cultural characteristics of the nations. Strong support was observed for the form-resistant correlation hypothesis.
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.
Sveinung Arnesen, Mikael P. Johannesson, Jonas Linde, and Stefan Dahlberg. 2017. “Do Polls Influence Opinions? Investigating Poll Feedback Loops Using the Novel Dynamic Response Feedback Experimental Procedure.” Social Science Computer Review. Publisher's Version Abstract

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.

Cornelius Cappelen and Stefan Dahlberg. 2017. “The Law of Jante and generalized trust.” Acta Sociologica. Download article here Abstract

A widespread cultural phenomenon – and/or individual disposition – is the idea that one should never try to be more, try to be different, or consider oneself more valuable than other people. In Scandinavia this code of modesty is referred to as the ‘Jante mentality’, in Anglo-Saxon societies the ‘tall puppy syndrome’, and in Asian cultures ‘the nail that stands out gets hammered down’. The study reported here examines how this modesty code relates to generalized trust. We argue, prima facie, that a positive and a negative relationship are equally plausible. Representative samples of the Norwegian population were asked about their agreement with the Jante mentality and the extent to which they have trust in other people. Two population surveys were conducted; one measuring individual level associations and another measuring aggregate level associations. It was found that the relationship between having a Jante mentality and trust is negative, at both levels of analysis and, furthermore, that the Jante mentality – this modesty code assumed to be instilled in Scandinavians from early childhood – is a powerful predictor of generalized trust.

Dag Arne Christensen and Jacob Aars. 2017. “Nordmenns holdninger til telefonavlytting: Resultater fra et surveyeksperiment.” Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning, 58, 2, Pp. 191-209. Read here Abstract

One of the basic functions of the state is to provide security for its citizens, with mitigating fear an important element of counter-terrorist policies. Policies like this may in turn reflect citizens' psychological reactions to terrorist events. Terrorism often leads to increased intolerance towards groups perceived as «different». Here, we ask whether people’s perceptions of the use of wiretapping differ depending on who the target of these measures is. For example, do citizens differ clearly between radical Muslims and Muslims in general, or has fear of terror contributed to a general distrust of Norwegian Muslims? We also ask why some are ready to give the police leeway in using secret methods, while others are reluctant. In order to answer these questions, we conducted a survey experiment and found that the population's support is highly dependent on the target group of the portended wiretap. However, although the respondents’ attitudes are sensitive to exposure to target groups, our study rejects the assumption that fear of terrorism has led to low tolerance towards Muslims in general. Finally, citizens' willingness to allow wiretapping is dependent on the characteristics of the inhabitants themselves.

Keywords: Terrorism, surveillance, privacy, group thinking, survey experiment

Staten har en oppgave i å skape trygghet for innbyggerne. Det å avdempe frykt er et viktig element i antiterrorpolitikken, og denne politikken kan i sin tur reflektere innbyggernes psykologiske reaksjoner på terrorhendelser. Forskning, spesielt fra USA, viser at terrorfrykt er assosiert med økt intoleranse og sterke fordommer overfor grupper som oppfattes som «annerledes». Med dette som utgangspunkt spør vi om nordmenn setter grensen for bruk av telefonavlytting forskjellig, avhengig av hvem som er målgruppen for slik avlytting. For eksempel, skiller innbyggerne tydelig mellom radikale muslimer og muslimer generelt, eller har terrorfrykten bidratt til en generell mistro mot norske muslimer? Vi spør også hvorfor noen er tilbøyelige til å gi Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste (PST) et stort handlingsrom, mens andre er motstandere. Disse spørsmålene besvares med bakgrunn i et surveyeksperiment gjennomført høsten 2015. Vi finner at hvilke grupper PST ønsker å bruke telefonavlytting overfor, har stor betydning for befolkningens støtte til slik avlytting. Våre resultater tyder derimot ikke på at terrorfrykt gir lavere toleranse overfor muslimer som gruppe. Innbyggernes villighet til å gi PST det PST ønsker er også i høy grad betinget av kjennetegn ved innbyggerne selv.

Nøkkelord: Terrorisme, overvåking, personvern, gruppekategorisering, surveyeksperiment

Kjersti Fløttum and Øyvind Gjerstad. 2016. “Narratives in climate change discource.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. Download article here Abstract

‘Stories’ used to communicate climate change knowledge shape opinions and preferences, and analyzing such narratives can help explain how they are constructed and how they influence us on personal and societal scales. The narrative perspective makes it possible to identify the presence or absence of typical components in a ‘story,’ such as initial situation, complication, reaction(s), resolution, and final situation, and to identify different actors or narrative characters (heroes, villains, victims). This article reviews the notions of narratives and frames, describes narrative analysis generally and more specifically how a text linguistic perspective can benefit from and contribute to the Narrative Policy Framework in narrative analysis. It illustrates how different approaches can be applied as analytical tools to explore the effects of conflicting narratives (frames) on public opinion of and attitudes towards climate change. Applied to various text genres, the analysis identifies different components of the ‘stories,’ at overarching levels of the text as a whole and at microlevels such as sentences. This may have rhetorical implications, as controversial points of view can be hidden from critical assessment through the condensation of narrative components into short expressions. When exposed to conflicting ‘stories,’ people get a diverse picture of climate change, a diversity which may, however, also lead to confusion about how to react. Concerning the narrative characters, recent research indicates that a clear hero role has a large persuasive impact. More experiments testing how people interpret various narratives should be undertaken in an interdisciplinary perspective, combining social science, and linguistic approaches. WIREs Clim Change 2017, 8:e429. doi: 10.1002/wcc.429

Gudmund Grønhaug. 2017. “Addressing the elephant in the room: a possible new way to increase patient adherence to medical advice.” Patient Preference and Adherence, 11, Pp. 1083-1089. Find at journal Abstract

Lack of patient adherence to medical advice (PAMA) is recognized as an area of interest. None of the previous initiatives to improve PAMA, such as patient centered care and shared decision making, have proved to be successful in terms of improving patient adherence. The aim of the present study is to assess beliefs about priorities in public health care, and adherence to medical advice, to establish a novel approach to increase PAMA. The present study is based on responses to two questions in an experimental survey from the Norwegian Citizen Panel, addressing people’s attitudes to priorities in public health care and adherence to medical advice. The questions on priorities in the health care sector are organized into six groups. The questions on adherence are organized into three groups. All questions are answered on a 7-point Likert scale. This study is the first to use experimental surveys to assess PAMA. The results indicate that if health care providers refer to national expertise and patient organizations’ recommendations on a given treatment, PAMA could improve. Although technical and methodological interventions in health care have, to some extent, improved PAMA, medical adherence is still low. In the present study, it is shown that integrating either national expertise or collaborated messages with other health professions and patient organizations’ recommendations in everyday care may help improve patients adherence to medical advice. A minor change in how treatment suggestions are presented could improve PAMA.

In times of increasing globalisation scholars put considerable efforts into understanding the consequences of immigration to the welfare state. One important factor in this respect is public support for the welfare state and redistribution. This article presents results from a unique survey experiment and a panel study in three European countries (Norway, Germany and the Netherlands) in order to examine whether and how individuals change their preference for redistribution when faced with immigration. Theoretically, citizens with high incomes should be especially likely to withdraw their support for redistribution because they fear the increased fiscal burden, whereas other types of citizens might ask for more compensation for the increased labour market risks caused by immigration. The empirical evidence reveals that only respondents with high incomes and those who face low labour market competition withdraw support for redistribution when faced with immigration.