Relations between alphabetized name order and nomination counts in peer nomination measures
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SourceSocial Development, 25, 4, (2016), pp. 866-874
Article / Letter to editor
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Peer nominations, a central method for measuring peer relationships in developmental research, typically involve asking children or adolescents to choose peers who fit various criteria from an alphabetized roster of classmates or grade-mates. Although such measures have been used for decades, very little research has investigated the effects of alphabetical name order on the number of nominations received by peers. This study collected peer nominations for 20 items among 607 eighth grade participants in two schools. Regression analyses showed that earlier name order significantly predicted higher nomination counts for eight of the items, and explained over 5 percent of the variance in four affective variables (friendship, acceptance, acquaintanceship, and received liking). Across variables, name order effects were negatively correlated with internal reliability of nominations, implying that order effects may be related to the consensus of the peer group. Name order also had a minimal effect on inter-correlations among a subset of variables. Implications and concrete recommendations for controlling and reducing name order effects in future research are discussed.
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