Editor’s note: Brooke Patton is research and content specialist at market research firm GutCheck, Denver. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “6 types of survey respondents to watch out for.”
Respondents come in many different shapes and sizes – meaning there are good ones, bad ones and some in between. Since respondents are not one in the same, market researchers have to be aware of the different types and their impact on results. Even if the study is written, executed and analyzed flawlessly, survey research is only as good as its respondents.
Professionals are one of the few types of survey respondents who are often categorized as good. These survey takers are the model citizens when it comes to being a market research respondent and frequently take studies. And when it comes to survey taking, they treat it as a job. While that’s usually good, sometimes their frequent participation can lead to biased results, particularly if repeating studies on similar subjects. In order to avoid this, screen professionals by asking if they’ve taken a recent study specific to the subject on which you’re conducting research and terminate them if they have.
Rule-breakers have a difficult time following directions. They may not intentionally be breaking the rules but could be misinterpreting questions. Either way, using quality checks like a screening question that requires a respondent to carefully read the question in order to choose the appropriate answer before moving forward in the study could help. Additionally, remove respondents who prove in open-ends that they are clearly not paying attention.
Likely the most self-explanatory, speeders move too quickly through a survey to actually provide thoughtful, honest answers. Often, speeders aren’t intrinsically motivated and are only driven to comple...