Posts by Dave Vannette


How to Ask Sensitive Survey Questions

Imagine you are responding to a survey and you’re asked about a sensitive topic, such as drug use, sexual behavior, racial attitudes, or your income. You might be reluctant to tell the truth and instead respond with what you think is a “socially acceptable” answer. This tendency is called “social desirability bias,” and if you’re not careful, it can bias your data, too.

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6 Ways to Pretest Your Survey Before You Send It

Running your survey through a series of tests to check for potential problems can save you a lot of headaches down the road and ensure that you get the data that you want. In this post we discuss six different strategies for testing surveys before starting your data collection.

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Using Attention Checks in Your Surveys May Harm Data Quality

Thinking of checking up on respondent attention mid-survey to make sure that you’re getting good data? Think again. In this article, we highlight how new findings from our Qualtrics Methodology Lab are helping us to revisit and refine advice that is commonly given to survey researchers, namely the use of attention check questions to ensure […]

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Why Using Grid Questions Is Probably Hurting Your Data

Even for experienced researchers, intuition about survey design often runs counter to best practices outlined in survey methodology literature. One of the question types that we see used in web surveys most frequently is a particularly problematic type known as the grid or matrix question type.     In some cases, researchers use grid questions […]

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