Response Error

Response Error occurs when respondents provide answers that do not accurately represent their opinions or experiences as related to the survey question at hand. Response error is not usually intentional, and can happen in any survey for a variety of reasons: the scenario or text of a question could be confusing, they could accidentally select the wrong answer, they might be distracted by something else going on, they might be uncomfortable sharing how they actually feel, etc.

It is impossible to entirely eliminate this type of error, but careful consideration during the survey design process can help mitigate its effects. For example, questions should be carefully worded so that their meaning is as clear as possible, answer options should be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, answer lists should be limited so respondents can fully read and understand all choices, survey length should be controlled to avoid respondent fatigue, etc.