Well, people generally talk from their subconscious minds, and while the purpose of conducting surveys is to derive unmoderated insights, dishonesty tarnishes these results. This usually happens when respondents lack a certain amount of knowledge or do not wish to answer correctly. To increase self-worth with inflated responses, being defensive, sharing socially acceptable answers, being forgetful, the intention to influence the outcome, hurried, annoyed, and much more allows the potential bias and falsity to creep in.
To deliver insights, you need accurate data which isn’t always easy to come by. And whilst a lot of this misreporting is not certainly conscious behaviour, it is crucial to regulate dishonesty in your data set.
Use of anti-fraud measures
With the surveys being under the guise of the digital and virtual connection with the respondents, it’s a difficult task to determine honest respondents. With the goodness of online surveys follows fraudulent activities. The influence of fraudulent activities on the data sets can be lessened by engaging in qualitative and technology checks. Leveraging the use of AI and MI, at Xcel-Online Surveys, we implement red herring checks, digital fingerprinting, straight line answers, and more to maintain the sanctity of data.
Non-disclosure of the survey topic
It is not only sensible to refrain from sharing too many details about the survey as it will devalue the nature of the screening process but will also help avoid biases. The sole purpose of screening questions is to determine the right candidates ideally eligible to take part in the research study. The way through this is to start by asking a few unrelated questions. For instance, instead of asking
‘Do you like to paint?’ – Yes/No,
try restructuring the question to
“Please select your favourite hobby” – Reading | Painting | cooking | dancing
Through this screening process, you gain access to a wider audience and carefully refine the true painter hobbyists. Furthermore, you will also gain more information about the participant’s additional interests and potentially discover deeper correlations between the data.
Providing an opt-in option
An opt-in answer choice such as “None of the above” or “Others” can help keep a check on the dishonesty and maintain response quality when the answer choices don’t apply to everybody. For instance,
How often do you consume alcohol?
Considering the above answer options, those who don’t drink alcohol at all won’t be able to answer the question, so adding an option of “other” or “none of the above” will help non-drinkers to make an honest choice.
Blend in the explanation
It has been observed over the years, that setting in an explanation into the questions, commissions the respondents to furnish honest responses. Respondents tend to get sensitive about certain topics. With the intent to divulge their feeling they might give answers that make them look good. So, giving in options like excuses helps in fetching honest responses. Like talking about the drinking habit again, If you ask a respondent if they drink or not, providing options such as “I only drink occasionally”, “I am trying to quit alcohol” etc may fetch you truthful answers.
Priming is key
Priming is a state of mind where a person is exposed to a stimulus, and it influences how they respond to another stimulus. The results of the survey may differ dramatically depending on the order of the question. The idea is to start with a related question to prep the tone of the respondent toward the actual question. The right way to order your survey will depend on your goals and whether you want to get “snap judgments” about your company or whether you’d prefer to get an “informed review.”
Social desirability bias
In a survey, people might not be very comfortable answering straight questions. This type of response bias arises when people respond to a survey with answers, they feel desirable and avoid giving undesirable answers, no matter what their true thoughts on the matter are. The way to get crack this is to ask the same straight question but with more options to choose from. More options to choose from confers them a sense of demure belief. For instance,
Do you think it is acceptable to take recreational drugs?
People acknowledge what the socially appropriate answer is and give that despite their real opinion. This kind of false reporting impacts the value and usability of the data you’ve collected.
The respondents tend to be more inclined toward new products when proposed in a research setting. Though the product in the evaluation stage will gauge enthusiasm from the respondents, the actual sale and traction that the new product generates are substantially low. What helps here is asking comparative questions. Instead of asking “Will, you buy the all-new dish cleaner” ask what they currently use and how likely is it for them to buy the new product instead.
Projective techniques uncover findings where respondents are reluctant and unable to expose their thoughts and feelings through straightforward questions. We leverage projective techniques to offer stimulus to trigger the unconscious thoughts and feelings to identify the inkling, which otherwise couldn’t surface.
Behavioural over attitudinal questions
While attitudinal questions look to an individual’s position on a topic or an issue, behavioural questions focus on discovering concrete experiences. Behaviour questions inquire about direct actions that have taken place and how individuals handle them. Depending on the goal and the objective of the research we customise our approach from asking attitudinal questions to asking about behaviours that reflect those attitudes.
Plying open-ended questions
Open-ended questions have the potential to unfold true and honest responses. It prompts people to answer with sentences, lists, and stories, giving deeper and new insights. For instance, “Are you satisfied?” is bound to get a yes/no answer but “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with this process?” will fetch a free-form answer which reveals more than just stats.
While this may be just a gist of how we at Market Xcel can assist you to gather true and actionable insights, connect with us to know more. Under the umbrella of Market Xcel, XOS and XGP provide impeccable online panel expertise, both in India and globally. We are now a large family with 3 million panellists (1 million in India), constantly growing with partners and affiliates spread across more than 80 countries.
So, now you know, where to go with all your research and survey dilemmas.