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Professional Respondents in Opt-in Online Panels

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Zhang, Chan (Zhejiang University)
  • Antoun, Christopher (University of Maryland, College Park)
  • Yan, Yanna (University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research)
  • Conrad, Frederick (University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research. Survey Research Center)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Institutes of Health
    • Award Number: R01HD041386-04A1
Free Keywords
response quality; online opt-in panels
  • Abstract

    Survey researchers often assume that “professional” respondents, those who complete a large number of surveys in opt-in online panels, are more likely than others to provide low-quality responses because their primary motivation is to earn rewards with minimal effort. However, there is little empirical evidence for this assumption. It could also be that professional respondents are willing to expend effort in order to be compensated. We investigated this issue using data from four independent surveys of opt-in panelists with about 2400 respondents in each survey. We classified panelists into three groups – “professional,” “average,” and “novice” – according to the number of surveys they had previously completed and the number of panels they belonged to. We then compared the groups with respect to their demographic characteristics, reasons for joining a panel, and response behaviors. Professional respondents were the oldest group and, as expected, the most likely to report “for money” as the main reason for joining a panel. However, novices were actually the most likely to provide low-quality responses. Professional respondents appear to take the task of completing surveys more seriously than previously thought.
  • Weighting

  • Technical Information

    Response Rates: cannot be determined
Temporal Coverage
  • 2008-01-01 / 2011-12-31
    Time Period: Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2008--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2011
Geographic Coverage
  • U.S.
non-probability samples
Collection Mode
  • web-based survey~~


Update Metadata: 2019-03-21 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-03-21

Zhang, Chan; Antoun, Christopher; Yan, Yanna; Conrad, Frederick (2019): Professional Respondents in Opt-in Online Panels. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.