Survey Attention and Self-Reported Political Behavior

02 December 2021, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


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.


Survey methodology
Attention checks
Self-reported behavior


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.