In 2015, researchers Kuriakose and Robbins conducted an interesting yet controversial study named "Don't get duped: Fraud through duplication in public opinion surveys." Among 1008 surveys, the study concluded that an average of 17% responses likely contained fabricated data. The results dropped to 5% in developed countries and shot up to 26% in developing nations.
An average of 17% false data can severely affect the results of your research. To protect your valuable research from contamination, you need to detect, extract, and prevent future false entries. We have a few tips on how to protect your online survey from fraud and extract false information. Detect fraud by checking for:
You can easily detect if responses are fake or legit by checking your survey for inconsistent answers. Somebody who is taking up a survey on a false pretext wouldn't take the time to answer your questions properly. You can also check for symbols (such as these: &, %, #) in between words to identify if an automated software has hacked your survey.
If your survey answers contain personally identifying information, you can check for details such as name, user ID, phone number, or a fake email address. If you see similarities or patterns in any of these identifiers between 'different' respondents, there are chances that the information provided is false.
You can also check for authenticity through the IP address of a computer. If an IP address is the same as another respondent's, then you probably have multiple responses from the same individual. You can also enable cookies to prevent multiple attempts to access your survey.
Protect your surveys and improve data quality
Once you've figured out how to identify false information and filter it, you can move on by preventing future fraud. There are several methods of protecting your survey. Below, we have listed a few for you!
With these tips in mind, you can conduct research projects and collect data of the highest quality. We hope this helps you build and distribute your survey, while protecting your valuable research from being tampered with.