How do you minimize response bias?

1 Answer
Jul 25, 2015

You have to give people a reason to respond


After taking care to get a good sample it can be very frustrating to have those individuals not respond. This leads to response bias and can mean that you cannot say anything meaningful about your research question.

So the way we reduce response bias is by motivating people to answer our request for information. This can be as simple as telling them that the research question is very important and will help people later on (as in the case of medical research) or you can give them a financial incentive (if you are working for a company). You can also make people more willing to answer if the questions are not too personal (how much money do you make? Do you hold prejudices towards minorities?) and by keeping them short (will you answer these 5 questions, it will only take 2 minutes).

These are not perfect but do help... a lot.

You can also motivate by withholding something till the information is provided (you cannot receive your grades till you fill out this survey) but this can bias the responses in a different way as no one likes to feel manipulated.