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Respondent Fatigue

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Respondent Fatigue

Respondent fatigue commonly occurs when the participant becomes tired of the survey they are being asked to complete. The participant’s attention and motivation will drop during the latter stages, leading to a deterioration in the quality of their answers. Signs of respondent fatigue can be easily noticed when analysing the data - participants will often answer “don’t know” or phrases similar. When the participants are asked to circle answers, they could show ‘straight line’ responding (picking all the answers in the same row or column).
Eliminating or decreasing the chance of respondent fatigue is a primary focus when planning a research study because guaranteeing the data is kept as valid as possible will allow for easier analysis at the end of the study. Researchers can do this by ensuring the survey is short and the participant is not given too many surveys at the same time. Furthermore, selecting the right participants is important as to make sure they are answering questions about a topic they are interested in.
For example, a researcher is conducting an exit interview for a supermarket chain, into the decreasing number of customers at a particular shop. Surveying participants as they are doing something else will increase the likelihood of respondent fatigue because they could become more agitated about not being able to do what they were doing. The researcher, therefore, must make the survey short and simple to gain the most valid data.

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