Notice: the WebSM website has not been updated since the beginning of 2018.

Web Survey Bibliography

Title Pros and cons of virtual interviewers – vote in the discussion about surveytainment
Author Póltorak, M., Kowalski, J.
Year 2013
Access date 05.04.2013

pdf (2.664 KB)


Relevance & Research Question
Research market faces increasing problems with respondents’ availability. This issue is especially important in online researches where there is no motivational role of interviewer and withdrawal from filling in the questionnaire is facilitated. It is believed that a remedy to this issue may be various surveytainment techniques aiming at increasing participants fun and engagement during answering the questionnaire. One of the promising stimuli seems to be implementing in an interview a character of virtual interlocutor (avatar).
Important questions that still need to be answered are:
 whether and to what extend do virtual interviewers inherit the good and bad features of real human interviewers?
 how effective they are compared to an ordinary online survey design?
 are they similarly persuasive for different groups of respondents and what influence consequently it may have on sample structure?
 whether and how may they have impact on the quality of the answers?
 how do the effects differ depending on the type and place of appearance of the avatar in the survey?
 are there differences caused by different types of virtual interviewers (i.e. pictures vs cartoon)?
Methods & Data
To answer the above questions we conducted a survey in experimental design, using on-site recruitment. We obtained in total 3177 filled up questionnaires. The analysed factors were: invitation response rate, drop-out rate, various indices of respondents engagement and quality of answers depending on the type (animated vs static, cartoon vs picture, male vs female) and place of appearance (invitation only vs a part of the survey vs the whole survey) of virtual interviewer. The data was analysed both in total and in various profile groups separately.
We will show how various types of avatars help to engage the respondents and what are the biggest advantages of using them. We will also uncover their disadvantages.
Added Value
The audience of our presentation will get knowledge on how to use avatars in online surveys in such way, that exploits their advantages and avoids drawbacks.

Access/Direct link

GOR Homepage (abstract) / (presentation)

Year of publication2013
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityAvailable on request

Web survey bibliography - General Online Research Conference (GOR) 2013 (34)