Konstantin Gavras, Jan Karem Höhne, Harald Schoen, Annelies G. Blom
New Avenues in Survey Data Collection. Investigating Linguistic and Content Characteristics of Text and Voice Answers to Political Attitude Questions

MaSIR Talk, (virtual), October 27th, 2020

The rapid increase of smartphone surveys and technological developments open novel opportunities for measuring political attitudes. One avenue is the use of open questions with requests for voice instead of text answers, which may facilitate the answer process and result in more in-depth and unfiltered information. However, so far, the pertinent literature lacks studies investigating the characteristics of text and voice answers. In this study, we therefore compare the linguistic and content characteristics of text and voice answers to political attitude questions. For this purpose, we conducted an experiment in a smartphone survey (N = 2,402) and randomly assigned respondents to a request condition (i.e., text or voice). Voice answers were recorded via the JavaScript- and PHP-based "SurveyVoice (SVoice)" tool developed by Höhne, Gavras, and Qureshi (forthcoming), resembling the voice messaging option of Instant-Messaging Services. The results reveal that text and voice answers substantially differ from each other. More specifically, they result in different lengths, lexical structures, sentiments, and topics. It seems that text answers are characterized by an intentional and conscious answering, whereas voice answers are characterized by an intuitive and spontaneous answering. Overall, open questions with requests for voice instead of text answers represent a promising way of measuring respondents' political attitudes.