The problems of valid design of questionnaires and analysis of ordinal response data from questionnaires have had a long history in the psychological and social sciences. Gardner and Martin (2007, this issue) illustrate some of these problems with reference to an earlier paper (Garau, Slater, Pertaub, & Razzaque, 2005) that studied copresence with virtual characters within an immersive virtual environment. Here we review the critique of Gardner and Martin supporting their main arguments. However, we show that their critique could not take into account the historical circumstances of the experiment described in the paper, and moreover that a reanalysis using more appropriate statistical methods does not result in conclusions that are different from those reported in the original paper. We go on to argue that in general such questionnaire data is treated far too seriously, and that a different paradigm is needed for presence research—one where multivariate physiological and behavioral data is used alongside subjective and questionnaire data, with the latter not having any specially privileged role.

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