Vol. 61 No. 2 (2013)
Research Article

Instructors’ Address Forms Influence Course Ratings

Published 2013-06-01


  • author identification,
  • phonoprints,
  • fictional character names,
  • authentic names,
  • nineteenth-century census,
  • J. R. R. Tolkein,
  • phonotactic probabilities
  • ...More



When evaluating potential new courses, students take into account the address forms of the instructors. Seventy college students rated the desirability of courses based on their syllabus descriptions. Syllabi differed only in the presentation of the instructors’ names with seven variations in their address listings: Dr, Professor, Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss, or No Title. Results indicate that instructors’ address forms had a significant effect on course ratings. Specifically, courses with the instructor labeled with an academic title (i.e., Professor, Dr) received higher ratings than those with a generic title (i.e., Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss), and those with a male address form received higher ratings than those with a female address form. Unlike previous studies, the three female titles of address — Ms, Mrs, and Miss — were evaluated similarly, suggesting that connotative differences in meaning among these address forms are disappearing.


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