Would your decision to eat a delicious hamburger change if you knew the nutrition information? Would you admit to texting and driving in a personal interview…or if a survey was anonymous?
These two questions and many others can expose a very common problem in surveys today: response bias. Response bias occurs when there is a systematic pattern of inaccurate answers to a survey question. This can occur for several different reasons, but here are some examples:
how the question is asked
what information is provided or not provided with the question
characteristics of the interviewer
lack of anonymity
respondents can’t remember accurate information