Common Method Bias: simplified definition, sources and cure


Common method bias is normally prevalent in studies where data for both independent and dependent variables are obtained from the same person in the same measurement context using the same item context and similar item characteristics.

Sources of common method bias

  1. Independent and dependent variables are used with the same item.
  2. The presence of errors in the measurement items
  3. The context in which the measurement instruments are obtained such as social desirability, leniency bias, etc.


  1. Separate independent and dependent variables temporarily by creating a short time lag between the measurements.
  2. Create an interesting study to separate the IV and DV psychologically such that respondents may not perceive the measurement of the IV to be related/connected to the DV.
  3. By using proximity technology, the researcher can separate the measures under which respondents complete a measurement fir the IV and DV. For example, in a survey question, the researcher can use a Likert scale for the IV and semantic differential for the DV.
  4. Measurement of the IV and DV can be obtained from different sources.


Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common Method Biases in Behavioral Research: A Critical Review of the Literature and Recommended Remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879-903.

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