Developing and validating a cross-national cumulative scale measuring attitudes toward illegal immigrants

C.G. van der Veer, L.E.A. Higler, S. Woelders, R. Ommundsen, R. Pernice

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The article reports the results of a Mokken Scale Procedure (MSP) developing a hierarchical cross-national scale gauging attitudes toward illegal immigration, and a subsequent qualitative cross-national assessment of this scale. Responses to a 20-item Likert-type-scale were collected in two national representative surveys in the Netherlands and New Zealand. The MSP analysis yielded a cumulative scale with the same four items for each with an acceptable 'scalability' in both samples, of H >.40. This cross-national four-item scale was evaluated by means of in-depth interviewing nine participants in the Netherlands and 15 participants in New Zealand. Analysis of the interviews shows that individually ranking the items of the scale is similar to the rank order generated by MSP, but the individual evaluation of the degree of negativity of items strongly depends on the way illegal immigrants are framed by subjects. The contribution of a mixed methods approach is discussed. It is suggested that the present quantitative measuring instruments measure a general average attitude, which may be likened to a measure of the average temperature of a country at a certain moment, while qualitative evaluations vary with the way illegal immigrants are framed by individuals, like variations in local temperature. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number5
Early online date29 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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