Self-report measures: an overview of concerns and limitations of questionnaire use in occupational stress research

Razavi, Tiffani (2001) Self-report measures: an overview of concerns and limitations of questionnaire use in occupational stress research. Discussion Paper. University of Southampton.

Abstract

As is the case with many domains of organisational behaviour, occupational stress research has for many years been characterised by the use of self-report methodologies, in particular the written questionnaire, as the primary means of data collection. Reliance on self-report for the measurement of both dependent and independent variables raises concern about the validity of causal conclusions for a range of reasons, including systematic response distortions, method variance and monomethod bias, and the psychometric properties (reliability and validity) of questionnaire scales. Beyond the immediate features of questionnaires, there is also concern about the context in which self-report measures are used, in terms of the design of studies, as well as the statistical treatment of questionnaire data at the analysis stage. Each of these themes is addressed from the perspective of the occupational stress literature, with a view to highlighting key areas for consideration in relation to planning and interpreting research. It is also suggested that most of these issues have wider relevance in the field of organisational behaviour, namely in those domains which focus on perceptual and attitudinal variables, which could benefit from similar methodological attention.

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