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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Respondent Characteristics as Explanations for Uninformative Survey Response: Sources of Nondifferentiation in a Web-Panel
Year 2011
Access date 25.10.2011

Relevance & Research Question: Self-administered online surveys put respondents into an essentially anonymous and uncontrolled response situation. This raises worries on potentially biased or uninformative answers, such as nondifferentiation – always using the same score on all items offered – which may harm the measurement accuracy of population statistics. Our presentation explores the question which respondents are inclined to give such answers.
Methods & Data: For our study, longitudinal observations from a large commercial online survey panel in The Netherlands were available: the Appreciation Panel (fieldwork by Intomart GfK on behalf of NPO, the Dutch Public Broadcasting Organisation. Nondifferentiation behavior was identified in every single survey of the panel for a time frame of six months in 2009 (totaling to 502,750 completed online questionnaires). In this way a history of panel (nondifferentiation) behavior was created for each of over 7,700 active panel members. Subsequently a cross-sectional online survey was designed to survey possible determinants of response behavior. The survey was conducted post-hoc with a stratified probability sample of 1,200 respondents.
Results: Analyses based on data from a large-scale online panel indicate that not only respondents’ perception of effort caused by a survey explains their behavior. Also more abstract social behavioral norms, individual moral obligations and the norm of ‘honest behavior’ are related to nondifferentiation behavior. However, extrinsic motivation to participate in the panel because of a monetary incentive is found unrelated. These results imply that survey researchers have somewhat limited ways to reduce the effects of factors causing uninformative behaviors. Using monetary incentives to encourage panel participation is not harmful to the quality of answers, but it is recommended to limit respondents’ perception of effort.
Added Value: Very few examples have been published about nondifferentiation in applied online market research. The method presented offers an example of applied research what respondents are inclined to give nondifferentiated responses and how nondifferentiation in combination with other indicators such as response time is used to identify low quality responses in online research.

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Year of publication2011
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations