Incentivize….DON’T Bribe Panel respondents!

Getting HOLD of those cheaters!!

Billion dollar decisions rest on the insights provided by market research companies. There is no room for error!! – imagine a clever college going kid giving opinions about a critical medical equipment…Blasphemy!!!. The panel incentives should motivate and not instigate respondents to state their opinions. After all your research is as good as your sample source.

Jotting down few proven methods to avoid bad responses ruining your research:

Rule No. 1: – Supervise the incentive amount – Many a times panel companies in the haste of completing the field work increases the incentive amount resulting in professional survey takers to put in extra effort to fool the system and enter the survey. On the flip side a lesser incentive will result in right respondents getting discouraged to take part.

A good panel manager should find and make sure suitable incentives based on respondents qualification and the time taken to complete the survey. Incentives will vary by country, region, qualification, legalities etc. therefore utmost care should be taken while planning your incentive system.

Rule No. 2:- Keep them guessing!!! Let the respondent take the entire screening questions and then only terminate them, in this way professional respondents who may try to sneak in to the survey by giving a different answer are stone-walled. Re-entry into the surveys are very much existent cause some of the professional respondents have joined web panels using multiple accounts.

Rule No. 3:- Cross-checking responses – if it is possible mix demographic questions with occupational ones; this will help eliminate illogical responses and filter out bad respondents. There isn’t any physician who is 18 years old.

Rule No. 4:- Don’t ask leading questions!! Researchers should be extra cautious and avoid asking leading questions for e.g. instead of asking “Do you sell cars?” ask “What types of cars do you sell?” this way bad respondent will have a far lesser chances of choosing the right answer.

Rule No. 5:- Increase answer options – As per the “probability theorem” a professional respondent will have 50% chance of getting a yes/no screener questions correct. So it is advisable to have more options in the screener questions.

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About akshay kanyal
Understanding Survey Research

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