Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Marketing Research/ Demographics/ Consumer Behavior

Publication Date



One of the most common errors committed by “amateur” online survey questionnaire designers is the improper use of “required” questions, where the survey respondent is not allowed to continue in the survey unless the question is answered. The problem with this design feature is that if a valid choice is not offered, the survey respondent must either give an incorrect answer to proceed, or terminate the survey. In order to get an empirical sense of how survey-takers respond to such situations, two studies were conducted, both employing 600+ members of a commercial online panel. Respondents were asked their opinion of a fictitious feature of a well-known law under varying required and unrequired response options. We conclude that there are unexpected threats to data quality when using required questions and such questions should be used with great caution.

About the Authors

Jeffrey S. Gutenberg is an Associate Professor of Management at the State University of New York College at Geneseo. His doctorate is from the University of Southern California. He teaches courses in Marketing Management, Marketing Research and Strategic Management. His current research interests lie in advertising price claims and data collection validity.

Seongbae Lim is an Associate Professor at Bill Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University, Texas. He received his PhD in Management Information Systems in 2003 from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and Mater of Arts in Production and Operation Management from Seogang University, South Korea. Prior to joining St. Mary’s University, he was an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Geneseo. His research interests include co-innovation, convergence management and entrepreneurship.

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