„My aim is to come back home with a extended network of research collaborators“

Marek Muszyński from Poland graduated in Psychology from Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He received his PhD at the Institute of Sociology in October 2020 on „Response Bias in Self-assessment Questions“ and is currently working on a project on „Response styles: sources, consequences, remedies“ at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. The focus of his research at DIPF as a CONNECT-Fellow is in the area of self-report data quality. In this Interview Marek talks about his research plans and shows us a favorite snapshot from his time at DIPF: the sunset from the DIPF-Building.

Welcome at DIPF, Marek! Can you tell us something about your academic career so far?
Marek Muszyński.

I have graduated from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, one of the oldest universities in Europe. I have spent some 14 years there, first graduating from MA studies in psychology, then doing post-master studies in educational measurement and finally defending my PhD at the Institute of Sociology. The title of my dissertation is „Validity of the overclaiming technique as a method to account for response bias in self-assessment questions: Analysis on the basis of the PISA 2012 data“. I have chosen this topic because it is important and interesting at so many levels.
First of all, it is very practical as self-report questions are used all over scientific, commercial, and public opinion projects. Secondly, these methods are plagued by measurement error and it is still not clear how it could be reduced. Thirdly, the socio-psychological mechanisms of those errors/biases are yet to be verified. All that makes this research problem a fascinating challenge at the intersection of methodology, psychology, and research practice.

„I will work on developing paradata indices to identify and then account for inattentive responding and response styles in surveys, mainly web surveys.“

What is the focus of your current research?

The focus of my research stay at DIPF is in the area of self-report data quality. I will work on developing paradata indices to identify and then account for inattentive responding and response styles in surveys, mainly web surveys. Paradata are auxiliary data that can be collected in computer-based settings and can convey information on any action respondents are doing while answering survey questions.
They can inform us on clicks, cursor moves, their direction and speed, and provide a timeframe for all of that, as any action taken by the respondent comes with a timestamp. The challenge is to develop these indices and the methodology of their collecting and processing in order to use them to increase survey data quality, e.g. screen out inattentive participants or to include the information on alleged inattentiveness into measurement models.

What do you hope to gain from your stay at DIPF?

The project I am going to do at DIPF is a part of my larger project that I currently work on at the Polish Academy of Sciences. During my stay I am going to work with Frank Goldhammer, Ulf Kroehne, and other researchers from DIPF who would like to join the project. I have to underline very strongly how happy I am to work with such excellent scholars who are leading experts in paradata analysis in the world. My specific goals are simple: I just want to learn, analyse the data I have, and write publications. My aim is to come back home with a much larger knowledge on how we can use paradata to enhance survey data quality, and, last but not least, with a very much extended network of research collaborators.

What are your first impressions of DIPF, of your colleagues, of living in Germany?

This is my second time in Frankfurt, so I already knew a little bit about the city before coming here this year. I have to say I really like it, it’s well connected with other destinations in Europe, and despite its size it seems calm and nice.
But the most important thing is people and I would like to say that I have received a very warm welcome here. I would like to thank everyone for all the help, support, and kindness I have been given.

Thank you for the interview, Marek!

DIPF regulary opens its doors for international researchers and PHD students. At this moment the institute is welcoming three visiting researchers as part of the CONNECT program within the unit “International Cooperation in Education” (ice). CONNECT (Connecting Future Leaders in Research in Education) offers highly-qualified international PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in the field of education the opportunity to spend up to three months as a visiting researcher at the institute in Frankfurt am Main or Berlin. The programme aims to initiate lasting collaborations among young scientists. Besides being given financial support, the visiting researchers are able to fully access the DIPF infrastructure services for education research. They are mentored by a DIPF senior researcher and receive support from a peer.