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The Use of Questionnaires in Conflict Research

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This article describes strengths and weaknesses of using questionnaires in studying conflict. We address five issues that we came across in our own research on organizations and close relationships. The first issue is that conflict is a sensitive topic which has consequences for the acquisition of participants and the response to surveys. Second, we deal with the validity of questionnaires that measure conflict behavior. The third issue concerns self-serving and social desirability biases in measures of conflict. The fourth issue is that conflict surveys usually entail correlational and cross-sectional designs, which prohibit conclusions about causality. Fifth, we deal with the fact that conflict data are often dyadic data, which yields practical and methodological problems. We illustrate these issues with our own research and include recommendations to overcome these limitations of using questionnaires in conflict research.


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