[Tips]Survey Panelist Code of Ethics

+Provide Quality Answers
+Be Honest
+Take Your Time
+Provide Correct and Current Contact and Demographic Information

Provide Quality Answers
The information you provide in an online survey is tabulated by the marketing research company and is then passed onto the client (i.e. the company who hired the marketing research company). The client then takes this information and applies it to the product or service in question. The higher the quality your survey answers are, the better the company will be able to utilize this information. During an online survey questionnaire where open-ended questions are asked, make especially sure to provide as much detail as possible. Remember that you were specifically selected to take the survey and that those behind it are interested in what you have to say.

Be Honest
Online surveys are conducted because a company wants to know exactly what you think. They hire marketing research firms to conduct the research for them and then receive a report with the results. Good or bad, these companies are looking for your opinions. Feedback provided by panelists that is inaccurate or dishonest is useless data. The whole point of market research is to discover what consumers' wants and needs are, and for companies to then fulfill these. Providing dishonest answers when answering online surveys compromises the validity of market research and benefits no one.

Take Your Time
Online survey taking is not a race! There is no timer ticking down the minutes left to take a survey, so slow down and take your time. Blowing through a survey not only impacts the quality of answers you provide, but can also result in misunderstanding questions or worse, missing them completely. This defeats the purpose of the survey as quality of answers decreases significantly when panelists choose not to think about their answers. Researchers and the companies who hire them spend a lot of time creating online surveys - do your part by taking the time to answer them properly.

Provide Correct and Current Contact and Demographic Information
Similarly to being honest when completing online surveys, be honest when completing the user profile portion of an online survey panel registration. The contact information you initially provide will be sued to contact you with future online survey invitations, and if applicable, to send you any rewards you may have earned for your participation (be it a check, prize, voucher, etc.). The demographic information (age, sex, income, etc.) you provide is used for classification purposes so that when a client seeks the opinions of say for example a certain age group, the market research company knows who is eligible to be contacted. Remember that if your contact or demographic information change, the marketing research company should be notified via an update to your user profile, keeping your panelist information current.

[Tips]How do Survey Companies know when to Contact me with a Survey?

Most online research companies you register with will ask you to fill out some "profile enhancers" or will even send you a short survey for their records.

Here (if they haven't already asked this questions during initial registration), questions about your demographic, and questions about what you own, what are you are planning to buy and what your interests are will be asked.

Sound like a lot of personal information? Yes and no. Remember that online surveys are anonymous (read privacy statements on the survey company's website if you feel uncomfortable) and the information they gather about you is only for survey matching purposes. Market research companies compile a database of names and information about the people behind them so as to have the right survey participants at their fingertips. What this means is that if a market research firm is hired to conduct surveys on current vehicle owner attitudes towards car companies, those who don't own a car won't be contacted to participate in this particular survey. How do they know not to contact you? Because of the profile enhancer or short screener they sent you, which asked you this question, and which has also been added to their database.

Think about it: would you want seniors filling out surveys on the latest punk-rock bands? Likewise, would you want teenagers completing surveys on RRSPs? You would receive useless results conducting surveys like this, so it's understandable that survey companies need to select and contact only the appropriate and eligible individuals who qualify for such surveys.
It's also helpful to remember that if profile enhancers are on option to complete on a website, it may be a good idea filling these out. Typically, the more information you provide about yourself, the more surveys you will be invited to participate in.