When you put time and energy into designing an online survey, the last thing you want is a survey taker to fake their way through it. Even worse, an automated click farm or bot army can ruin your dataset by swamping the survey.
Some sources put the rate of fraudulent survey responses between 5% and 26%, and in a study where a few percentage points could mean the death of an idea, even 5% is critical. Additional research into the problem has claimed 1 in 5 surveys contain fraudulent responses. These reports create distrust and cynicism in the market research community, our stakeholders, and our clients.
Tackling survey fraud can be daunting. On a small scale, individuals will cheat or lie to qualify for a survey they shouldn’t be taking in order to receive a reward. Or qualified respondents will retake a survey many times to increase their reward. On a much larger scale, organized groups or malicious software will automate multiple responses to pool incentives.
Identifying fraud in your survey
Here are some proactive steps for designing fraud-proof surveys:
The problem of survey takers fabricating responses is real, but high quality design and implementation can go a long way towards providing answers you can trust. At Honest Data, we put a huge amount of work into supporting our clients’ data integrity. If you have questions about trusting your research, please drop us a line! We just love talking about our work. firstname.lastname@example.org
Detecting, Preventing, and Responding to “Fraudsters” in Internet Research: Ethics and Tradeoffs: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4669957/
Review of Methods to Detect Fabricated Survey Data: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265059305_A_Literature_Review_of_Methods_to_Detect_Fabricated_Survey_Data
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