Are panelists employees or respondents? Social versus economic exchange
Eric Taylor Online Research Services, Western Wats Center, Inc., United States
Commercial and academic discussions of online survey methods frequently invoke the label “professional respondents.” The term is sufficiently slippery to allow broad variation in what is meant by a “professional respondent”, but in short, “'professional respondents' are assumed to be motivated by incentive maximization rather than intrinsic interest in survey participation, behavior which is assumed to be inconsistent with accurate and unbiased responses” (Smith and Brown, 2005). From these assumptions the discussion usually rushes...