How to Reconstruct a Trend when Survey Questions Have Changed Over Time.

Methods for Scale Homogenization Applied to the Case of Life Satisfaction in Japan 1958-2007

  • Tineke de Jonge Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7774-9800
  • Akiko Kamesaka Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan, School of Business Administration and Former Visiting Research Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Japan https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8520-2861
  • Ruut Veenhoven Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Erasmus Happiness Research Organization and North-West University South-Africa, Opentia Research Program https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5159-393X
Keywords: Trend analysis, response scale homogenization, survey questions, happiness, life satisfaction

Abstract

Many trend studies draw on survey data and compare responses to questions on the same topic that has been asked over time. A problem with such studies is that the questions often do not remain identical, due to changes in phrasing and response formats. We present ways to deal with this problem using trend data on life satisfaction in Japan as an illustrative case. Life satisfaction has been measured in the Life in Nation survey in Japan since 1958 and the question used has been changed several times. We looked at three methods published by scholars who tried to reconstruct a main trend in life satisfaction from these broken time-series, coming to different conclusions. In this paper we discuss their methods and present two new techniques for dealing with changes in survey questions on the same topic.  
Published
2021-04-10
How to Cite
de Jonge, T., Kamesaka, A., & Veenhoven, R. (2021). How to Reconstruct a Trend when Survey Questions Have Changed Over Time . Survey Research Methods, 15(1), 101-113. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2021.v15i1.7725
Section
Articles