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 Survey Design Theory Should Matter to You

The survey is the heart of any survey research project. Whether it’s an intercept survey, a survey of the general population, or a survey of customers or employees, the way you design your survey plays a critical role in shaping the quality of the data and insights that you’ll get.   Because people ask each […]

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Maximize the Impact of Your Research Through Transparency

Otto von Bismarck one remarked that “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” He obviously wasn’t a huge proponent of process transparency.   There are researchers that might advance a similar philosophy about the results or insights of their work. In some cases, this is because they’ve massaged the […]

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Survey Speeding, Part 2: Designing Surveys to Avoid Harm

Previously we highlighted some of the concerns surrounding people that appear to respond very quickly to surveys. While concerns about survey speeding are valid, there are indications that the solution is not to simply throw out these respondents from your dataset.   Despite the evidence that speeders don’t really appear to be doing that much […]

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