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Web Survey Bibliography

Title No pay, no gain. The relationship between monetary and non-monetary motivation to participate in web surveys and data quality in an international context.
Year 2017
Access date 14.04.2017

Relevance & Research Question

Numerous studies have shown a positive association between providing incentives conditional upon survey completion, i.e., an extrinsic motivation, and survey participation. Less focus has been placed on extending the reasoning to explain variations in data quality. Satisficing theory predicts that data quality may suffer when respondent motivation is low. This paper challenges the assumption that non-monetary, intrinsic motivation is preferable to monetary, extrinsic motivation, by studying the link between motivation type and data quality in an international context. We answer two research questions in this study: “How do monetary motivated participants differ from non-monetary motivated participants?” and “What is the relationship between motivation type and data quality?“.

Methods & Data

The data come from a web survey conducted by SurveyMonkey among approximately 35,000 respondents from 6 countries across 5 continents in early 2016. Participants were recruited into the study from various web panels using different recruiting strategies and incentive structures. Personal and survey related characteristics that may influence the type of motivation were identified. The link between motivation and data quality, measured by four indicators as well as a composite measure, was tested using logistic regression models controlling for panel type and country. Interaction effects between motivation and other predictors and controls were explored.


Financial motivation is stronger among younger, low-income, and mobile web respondents, with country and panel-specific differences. In turn, monetary motivation has a positive relationship with data quality. This finding is consistent across countries, panels, and devices. Respondents who are motivated mainly by the incentives rather than curiosity or positive feelings associated with expressing an opinion or taking surveys show a lower propensity to use satisficing strategies such as straightlining or speeding.

Added Value

This study sheds light on the relationship between self-reported respondent motivation and objective measures of data quality in web surveys. The results suggest that offering incentives that trigger respondents’ extrinsic motivation can increase their levels of attention, possibly by nurturing a sense of obligation and responsibility as a compensation for their monetary gains. The cross-cultural aspect of the study provides external validity.

Year of publication2017
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations

Web survey bibliography (8390)