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Using question order for predictive service quality measures

Carol W. DeMoranville (Department of Marketing, Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA)
Carol C. Bienstock (Department of Management and Marketing, Radford University, Radford, Virginia, USA)
Kim Judson (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




Previous research shows that question order affects responses, but does not indicate which order is more accurate. This study aims to examine the effect of three question orders on measurements of SERVQUAL and global quality in an effort to determine which order produced the most predictive measures.


Three forms of a survey were randomly distributed to users of different services; banking, dental services, and hair salons. Correlation with intention of future interaction was used to identify the order that resulted in the most predictive quality measure.


The paper finds that correlations with intention of future interaction were highest for SERVQUAL in the global‐SERVQUAL order, but highest for the global quality measure in the random order.

Research limitation/implications

This study indicates that practitioners and academicians should order questionnaire items differently depending on how the results will be used and which type of measure, specific or global service quality, is the focus of a questionnaire. Generalizations are limited to SERVQUAL and multiple item measures of service quality.

Practical implications

The findings indicate which of several question orders can be used to generate the most predictive measures of SERVQUAL and global service quality.


Previous research has examined measurement effects of specific‐general question orders, without indicating which order is most predictive. This study includes a random order and also suggests appropriate item order for predictive measures.



DeMoranville, C.W., Bienstock, C.C. and Judson, K. (2008), "Using question order for predictive service quality measures", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 255-262.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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