We just received an informative press release from colleague Ron Kurtz of the American Affluence Research Center entitled, “Research Industry Confronts Problems with Online Panel Surveys.”
Kurtz reports that the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) and The Global Research Business Network (GRBN), in conjunction with the research firm Esomar, have recently issued guidelines to help researchers and marketers to overcome some of the vulnerabilities of online panel research and to enhance credibility for such research.
Here we have paraphrased key points in these organizations announcement of the new guidelines:
- Most online samples are derived from panels often who have agreed to answer questionnaires in exchange for an incentive.
- With these incentives, there is a growing number of professional research participants who enter multiple surveys to secure incentives – resulting in inattentive or untruthful respondents, unrepresentative target groups, and the potential for duplicated respondents.
- The proliferation of mobile devices (now used by 20%-30% of research respondents) can introduce bias, as they are typically younger, male, and more ethnically diverse than in conventional sampling.
- New online sampling techniques such as ‘river sampling’ – recruiting samples from real time advertisements or offers – can make it harder to validate respondent identities and their relevance to the target population.
- The trend towards recruiting respondents from schemes such as ‘frequent flyer’ or particular websites opens up the potential for duplicate participants.
- Blending together samples from several panel sources to create greater balance can also lead to individuals answering surveys more than once.”
Kurtz points out that the American Affluence Research Center, a leading provider of syndicated and custom research on affluent and luxury consumers, does not use online panel research and focuses exclusively on mail surveys.
Thank you, Ron Kurtz!