The effect of grouping or randomizing items on leniency response bias

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21 Scopus citations


This study was concerned with the effects of item presentation mode on the degree of leniency bias inherent in responses to standard field research questionnaires. Two types of modes were examined : the first with items measuring the same dimensions grouped together and the second with items measuring the same dimensions distributed randomly throughout the questionnaire. Sixty respondents completed questionnaires containing items from the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (Stogdill, 1963) and the Michigan Four Factor Leadership Questionnaire (Taylor and Bowers, 1972); there were thirty respondents in each of the modes (grouped and random). The random relative to the grouped mode showed substantially less leniency response bias, as assessed by both correlational and factor-analytic procedures. However, the magnitude of these effects was still considerable for the random mode. There were no notable differences in leniency effects between the two questionnaires, but some differences were obtained for specific leadership dimensions. Based upon these and the total set of findings, implications for questionnaire validity and for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalEducational and Psychological Measurement
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics


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