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Forced choice refers to a specific format for response options in survey questionnaires. In a forced choice format, respondents are not given a specific option to reflect a “nonresponse” type choice, such as “no opinion,” “don't know,” “not sure,” or “not applicable.” Respondents must select a response choice that provides a specific answer to the survey item.

The elimination of item “nonresponse” choices in the forced choice format increases the number of survey records with responses that are usable for analysis. Survey designers use the forced choice format to encourage respondents to provide an actual response. The forced choice format is common in key survey questions, especially qualifier (screener) questions. For example, question items about household income and number of household members might use forced choice ...

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