Web Survey Bibliography

Title How Stable is Satisficing in Online Panel Surveys?
Year 2017
Access date 13.04.2017

Relevance & Research Question

Satisficing response behavior is a severe threat to data quality of web-based surveys. Yet, to date no study has systematically explored the stability of satisficing in repeated interviews of the same respondents over time. Gaining novel insights into this issue is particularly important for survey methodologists and practitioners in the field of online panel research because the effectiveness of approaches to cope with satisficing depends among others on the stability of the response behavior over time.

Methods & Data

The present study used data of three waves of an online panel survey on politics and elections in Germany to analyze the respondents’ response behavior over time. For each wave of the panel respondents were classified as either optimizers or satisficers using latent class analysis with five common indicators of satisficing response behavior (i.e.,speeding, straightlining, don’t know answers, mid-point responses, and nonsubstantive answers to an open-ended question).


The results of our study showed that between 10.2% and 10.9% of the respondents have used satisficing across the waves of the panel survey. Furthermore, we observed certain stability in optimizing and satisficing over time. Nevertheless, the response behavior of the participants was all but completely stable across the panel waves. This finding indicates that time-varying characteristics of the respondents and the context of a survey are important explanatory factors.

Added Value

Our study provides evidence that satisficing is not a completely stable and trait-like characteristic of respondents. Rather satisficing should be perceived as a response strategy, which is affected by both time-stable as well as time-varying characteristics of respondents and the context of a survey. Thus, we conclude that approaches to cope with this response behavior should focus on motivating rather than removing satisficing respondents from online panels.

Year of publication2017
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations

Web survey bibliography (8390)