Respondents Attention and Response Behavior in Web Survey: Comparing Positioning Effects of a Scale on Impulsive Behavior

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Cornelia NEUERT, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Previous research has shown that the quality of data in surveys is affected by questionnaire length. With an increasing number of survey questions that respondents have to answer, they can become bored, tired and annoyed. This may increase respondents’ burden and decrease their motivation to provide meaningful answers which might lead to an increased risk of showing satisficing behavior.

This paper investigates effects of item positioning on data quality in a web survey.

In a lab experiment employing eye-tracking technology, 130 respondents answered a grid question on impulsive behavior that consists of eight items and a five-point response scale. The scale was randomly provided either in the beginning or at the end of the web questionnaire.

The position of the scale was predicted to influence a variety of indicators of data quality and response behavior in the web survey: item nonresponse, response times, response differentiation, as well as measures of attention and cognitive effort operationalized by fixation counts and fixation times. In addition, it is investigated whether the position of the scale on impulsive behavior affects the comparability of correlations with other personality variables.