While collecting data through the questionnaire format, prevalence of social desirability bias (SDB) is common. SDB means, negative statements are under reported while positive statements are over reported by the respondents in terms of scoring. Ridgway et al (2008) claim that SDB potentially affects the measurement of related variables. Once the data is collected, the primary job is to assess the level of SDB. How do we do it? Every researcher is advised to attach a 13-item short form of the Marlowe-Crowne scale, which is developed to assess the level of SDB. Later, to know the presence of SDB, we can perform a Spearman’s correlation between all related constructs and SDB scores. The results with a weak correlation suggest that SDB has no relation with the reported construct scores. Further, negative correlation means that respondents have attempted to portray themselves in favourable light by responding in a socially approved way (Socially correct), and hence tend to underplay their negative responses. (Turel et al, 2011). Therefore, lack of correlation indicates that, though SDB exists, it should not disturb the accuracy of the study. However, when the correlation is high, SDB might affect the study itself.
By Shankar MM