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NWO funding for PhD project ‘Nothing but the truth: Unraveling socially desirable responding in self-reports’

08 September 2020

NWO has selected eighteen promising research projects that receive funding from the PhDs in the Humanities programme. One of those selections concerns a project within the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen.

The project

The project is about socially desirable responding - a common phenomenon where, in order to appear more desirable, people do not report completely honestly about themselves in interviews or questionnaires. The project is being carried out by PhD candidate Emma Zaal, led by Prof. John Hoeks and Dr. Yfke Ongena of the Discourse and Communication research group. In the project, the brand new PhD candidate will investigate how socially desirable responding can best be predicted, measured and reduced. The outcome of the project is a model of question answering that includes socially desirable responding. The results of this project can be used for theory development, question formulation and questionnaire design, but also for policymaking and the development of public campaigns aimed at behavioral change.

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Bio Emma Zaal

Emma Zaal graduated from the University of Groningen in 2018 in the Research Master's Linguistics: Language & Cognition and in the regular Master's Computer Communication. Her first master’s thesis was about the effect of positive and negative feedback on behavioral change in the areas of sustainability and health, and her second master’s thesis was about measuring and reducing socially desirable responding in the same behavioral areas. From 2012 to 2015, she followed - also at the University of Groningen - the Bachelor's Communication and Information Sciences. Since 2018 and to date, Emma has worked as a questionnaire researcher at the Faculty of Science and Engineering and as a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts.

Last modified:08 September 2020 4.54 p.m.
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