Survey Attention and Self-Reported Political Behavior


Survey research methodology is evolving rapidly, as new technologies provide new opportunities. One of the areas of innovation regards the development of online interview best practices, and the advancement of methods that allow researchers to measure the attention that subjects are devoting to the survey task. Reliable measurement of subject attention can yield important information about the quality of the survey response. In this paper, we take advantage of an innovative survey we conducted in 2018, in which we directly connect survey responses to administrative data, allowing us to directly assess the association between survey attention and response quality. We show that attentive survey subjects are more likely to provide accurate survey responses regarding a number of behaviors and attributes that we can validate with our administrative data. The best strategy to deal with inattentive respondents, however, depends on the correlation between respondent attention and the outcome of interest.



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