British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology

Using multidimensional item response theory to evaluate how response styles impact measurement

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Multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) models for response style (e.g., Bolt, Lu, & Kim, 2014, Psychological Methods, 19, 528; Falk & Cai, 2016, Psychological Methods, 21, 328) provide flexibility in accommodating various response styles, but often present difficulty in isolating the effects of response style(s) from the intended substantive trait(s). In the presence of such measurement limitations, we consider several ways in which MIRT models are nevertheless useful in lending insight into how response styles may interfere with measurement for a given test instrument. Such a study can also inform whether alternative design considerations (e.g., anchoring vignettes, self‐report items of heterogeneous content) that seek to control for response style effects may be helpful. We illustrate several aspects of an MIRT approach using real and simulated analyses.

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