Online Survey Tips

4 Ways to Stay Ethical When Taking Surveys

Written by SurveyPolice

When you take online surveys, your answers really do help influence the decisions companies make on products and services.  It’s important to keep this in mind when answering surveys, and you can do so by remembering these four things:

  1. Provide Quality Answers
  2. Be Honest
  3. Take Your Time
  4. Provide Correct and Current Contact and Demographic Information

Provide Quality Answers

The information you provide in an online survey is tabulated by the marketing research company and is then passed onto the client (i.e. the company who hired the marketing research company). The client then takes this information and applies it to the product or service in question. The higher the quality your survey answers are, the better the company will be able to utilize this information. During an online survey questionnaire where open-ended questions are asked, make especially sure to provide as much detail as possible. Remember that you were specifically selected to take the survey and that those behind it are interested in what you have to say.

Be Honest

Online surveys are conducted because a company wants to know exactly what you think. They hire marketing research firms to conduct the research for them and then receive a report with the results. Good or bad, these companies are looking for your opinions. Feedback provided by panelists that is inaccurate or dishonest is useless data. The whole point of market research is to discover what consumers’ wants and needs are, and for companies to then fulfill these. Providing dishonest answers when answering online surveys compromises the validity of market research and benefits no one.

Take Your Time

Online survey taking is not a race! There is no timer ticking down the minutes left to take a survey, so slow down and take your time. Blowing through a survey not only impacts the quality of answers you provide, but can also result in misunderstanding questions or worse, missing them completely. This defeats the purpose of the survey as quality of answers decreases significantly when panelists choose not to think about their answers. Researchers and the companies who hire them spend a lot of time creating online surveys – do your part by taking the time to answer them properly.

Provide Correct and Current Contact and Demographic Information

Similarly to being honest when completing online surveys, be honest when completing the user profile portion of an online survey panel registration. The contact information you initially provide will be used to contact you with future online survey invitations, and if applicable, to send you any rewards you may have earned for your participation (be it a check, prize, voucher, etc.). The demographic information (age, sex, income, etc.) you provide is used for classification purposes so that when a client seeks the opinions of, say for example, a certain age group, the market research company knows who is eligible to be contacted. Remember that if your contact or demographic information change, the marketing research company should be notified via an update to your user profile, keeping your panelist information current.

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