General Social Survey Essay

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Starting in 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) used a four-category response scale for respondents to answer a question on how they view their own health, known as the self-reported health question (SRH) (Smith 2005, 1). The four-categories used were: poor, fair, good, and excellent (Smith et al. 2017, 385) Starting in 2002, the GSS started using both a four and five-category scale for people to respond to the SRH (Smith et al. 2017,1537). The five-category scale used the same measures from the four-category scale, but also included “very good” as the fifth option. The question is: which response category form gives a better ability to determine SRH among people? To analyze this, I will use some of the same methods that Tom Smith did…show more content…
After that, I will also use a table of correlation coefficients and look to see if there is a substantial difference between the two sets of coefficients. The variables I will be using are years of education, self-reported social class, and self-reported happiness to check the correlation coefficients (details about these questions are available in Appendix A) I chose these variables because each of them have an effect on how people perceive their own health. For education, it is believed that the more educated a person is, the better the health respondents report (Borgonovi and Pokropek 2016:11). For social class, it is believed that the higher social class a person is in, the better the health the person believes to be in (Borrell et al. 2016:1883). Lastly, the happier a person is, the better health they perceive to have (Pressman & Cohen 2005:963). All in all, in order for me to determine which category scale is “better”, I will determine that on two criteria: if the comparison between the two different category scales has the same results as Smith and if any of the coefficients are substantially different from either the four or five-category scale.
The data I will use comes from the 2010 implementation of the GSS. The GSS is a project of the independent research organization National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the university of
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