Values are central to public discourse today and are viewed as important for the understanding and explanation of attitudes and behavior. Research on human values in the social sciences took off after Schwartz introduced his theory of basic human values in 1992. That theory included 10 motivationally distinct values that are presumed to cover the main value orientations recognized across cultures. Several instruments have been developed to measure these values. A short version of one of these instruments has been included in all four rounds of the European Social Survey. These instruments have revived a lively discussion between methodologists and substantive researchers on the value concept in recent years at the European Survey Research Association (ESRA) bi-annual conference, at other conferences with methodological and substantive foci, and in journal articles in sociology, psychology, political science, business administration and communication.
Schwartz’s theory of human values, as operationalized using di_erent instruments such as the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ), was confirmed by multiple studies using Smallest Space Analysis (SSA). Because of its success, a short version of the PVQ was introduced in the European Social Survey (ESS). However, initial tests using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) pointed to low discriminant validity of the 10 basic values: The correlations between values next to each other in the two-dimensional space described by SSA were close to or greater than 1. In response, one research stream suggested combining the factors with low discriminant validity. Another stream suggested that the problem was not low discriminant validity but rather misspecifications in the model. Analyses of the short Portrait Values Questionnaire of the ESS confirmed the latter view.
This paper demonstrates that the problems of the short version of the PVQ exist in the full 40-item PVQ as well. Based on SEM analyses of the items of the full PVQ, we propose that it can provide measures of 15 more narrowly defined values with good discriminant validity. Our proposal respects the conceptual complexity of the values theory while avoiding contamination of composite scores. It can be expected that the improved measurement of 15 values will increase their predictive power. The presence of some single items suggests the extension of the value theory and scales to encompass more than 15 values. Implications for further development of the scale are drawn.
A large number of findings in survey research suggest that responses to sensitive questions are situational and can vary in relation to context. The methodological literature demonstrates that social desirability biases are less prevalent in self-administered surveys, particularly in Web surveys, when there is no interviewer and less risk of presenting oneself in an unfavorable light. Since there is a growing number of users of mobile Web browsers, we focused our study on the effects of different devices (PC or cell phone) in Web surveys on the respondents’ willingness to report sensitive information. To reduce selection bias, we carried out a two-wave cross-over experiment using a volunteer online access-panel in Russia. Participants were asked to complete the questionnaire in both survey modes: PC and mobile Web survey. We hypothesized that features of mobile Web usage may affect response accuracy and lead to more socially desirable responses compared to the PC Web survey mode. We found significant differences in the reporting of alcohol consumption by mode, consistent with our hypothesis. But other sensitive questions did not show similar effects. We also found that the presence of familiar bystanders had an impact on the responses, while the presence of strangers did not have any significant effect in either survey mode. Contrary to expectations, we did not find evidence of a positive impact of completing the questionnaire at home and trust in data confidentiality on the level of reporting. These results could help survey practitioners to design and improve data quality in Web surveys completed on different devices.
Schwartz’ theory of ten basic human values has stimulated numerous studies using a variety of instruments. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) of the properties of some of the instruments have revealed that three pairs of values were excessively highly correlated. This led Davidov et al. (2008) to propose unifying values. To overcome the problems of loss of precision due to unifying distinct values, Knoppen and Saris (2009a,b) investigated the factorial structure of each of the ten values measured with the PVQ (Schwartz et al. 2001). They identified both cross-loadings and distinct sub-dimensions for the pairs of nondiscriminated values in two German student samples. They concluded that the original strategy for selecting items, maximizing theoretical coverage at the expense of item homogeneity, produced the poor discrimination between values. Our Study 1 examines whether the Knoppen and Saris findings generalize to a representative sample of the German population. With some notable exceptions, our findings replicate theirs. Study 2 uses 33 items from an experimental version of the PVQ to operationalize and test a full model of the 11 basic values. Following Knoppen and Saris, we included only one sub-dimension of each of the 11 values. This CFA model yielded a satisfactory fit with no estimation problems. We conclude that available indicators permit measuring the distinct values without the need to collapse factors. Limitations and implications of the research are discussed.