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A vignette is a sort of “illustration” in words. In survey research, a vignette question describes an event, happening, circumstance, or other scenario, the wording of which often is experimentally controlled by the researcher and at least one of the different versions of the vignette is randomly assigned to different subsets of respondents.

For example, imagine a vignette that describes a hypothetical crime that was committed, and the respondents are asked closed-ended questions to rate how serious they consider the crime to be and what sentence a judge should assign to the perpetrator. The researcher could experimentally alter the wording of the vignette by varying six independent variables: the gender, race, and age of both the victim and perpetrator. If two ages (e.g., 16 and ...

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