Climate Change Survey Measures: Exploring Perceived Bias and Question Interpretation

Tarik Abdel-Monem, Lisa M. PytlikZillig, Tonya K. Bernadt, Nicole A. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Climate change has become an important yet politically divisive topic in recent years. Further complicating the issue are assertions that climate change- related public opinion surveys used by social scientists are biased or otherwise problematic. We conducted a pilot study to explore questions concerning bias and interpretation of climate change surveys. Our study sample was composed of adult residents of Nebraska (n = 115). We augmented our survey findings with cognitive interviews of a subsample of respondents (n = 20). We assessed study participants' attitudes about climate change, and perceptions of bias and interpretation of survey questions drawn from previously used survey instruments and national polls. Among our study sample, we found little support for perceived bias within the survey items employed. However, interview findings indicated that particular survey language may have elicited unexpected associations among respondents. We discussed implications for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-168
Number of pages16
JournalGreat Plains Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Climate
  • Climate change
  • Public opinion
  • Public understanding
  • Risk communication
  • Science
  • Survey bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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