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Response alternatives are the choices that are provided to respondents in a survey when they are asked a question. Response alternatives are generally associated with closed-ended items, although open-ended items may provide a limited number of such choices.

Response alternatives can take a number of different forms, related to the type of question presented. In a Likert-type item, in which respondents are asked the extent to which they agree or disagree with a statement, the response alternatives might be strongly approve, approve, neither approve nor disapprove, disapprove, and strongly disapprove. For a rating scale—for example, the rating of the job the president is doing—the response alternatives might be excellent, good, fair, poor, and very poor. Another example of a rating scale would be a “feeling ...

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