Human participation in research experiments is often a crucial component in driving impactful outcomes. Without the voluntary and truthful participation of those who would possibly be affected by the research in question, it’s difficult for the researcher to get a clear picture of all of the pieces involved in their search for answers.
But although these participants are integral in the researcher’s ability to compile data to drive their experiment and thus serve a bigger purpose, if the respondent is not attentive, their answers can lack validity and reliability, skewing the outcomes. To ensure this does not happen, it’s the researcher’s responsibility to gain the respondent’s attentiveness as much as possible.
Getting to Know Human Nature and Attentiveness
An important job of the researcher is to get a solid foundation of human nature to be able to predict factors that drive the attentiveness of respondents. This is particularly true when it comes to online surveys since no one is in attendance to hold the respondent accountable for paying attention.
Because of the need for trustworthiness and validity, it’s essential that the researcher comprises questions and an environment that holds the participant’s attention. Studies on human nature show that people are more attentive when certain factors are in place, such as:
● Short, simple to read questions
● When their phone is off or in another room
● When they are well hydrated and in a cool, comfortable environment
● If there are plants in the room they’re in
● When they are sitting upright
● If they have a reasonable time limit to complete their work but aren’t rushed and pressured
Including these factors in your research questioning environment, or requesting that the participants do so from their home in the case of online surveys, is more likely to generate valid answers through attentiveness.
The Impact of Inattentive Responses on Data
Inattentive responses either through carelessness or simple distraction is dangerous to the reliability of a researcher’s data. Too many of these responses could result in an error in measurement that muddies the results and makes them less meaningful. It’s the researcher’s responsibility to ensure that they identify and remove any participants who demonstrated inattentive responses by predetermining how to recognize this type of data before it obscures their results.
Inattentive responses, if not identified and removed, can have an adverse effect on the analysis of the data. Researchers who attempt to correlate their findings to other factors may be inadvertently doing so with invalid information, resulting in problematic outcomes.
Ensuring Your Participants are Engaged
An essential component of your work is to create an environment and a questionnaire that is engaging to your respondent. As such, consider including measures in your data collection methods such as:
● Pre-testing your questions with a random sample group to check for outliers, distractors, and other factors that could skew data
● Checking the time it takes for the average respondent to complete the questionnaire through pre-testing and reducing questions that are too time-consuming or that seem to confuse the participant
● For in-person questioning, ensure you have a team that is trained well in explaining the process and confidentiality measures to the respondent as well as trained in the ethical and humane treatment of human participants as per all legal guidelines
● Use dynamic questioning methods to hold the participants’ engagement by switching up the types of questions while still holding consistency in their standards
● Use multimedia formats when possible, such as pictures, videos, audio files, and other types of media to engage the reader
When the respondent is attentive, your work is more valid. Putting in the time in the beginning to ensure attentiveness as much as possible will save you the stress and time it will take to remove invalid data due to inattentive participants later.
Compile Your Data with Impactio
Once you have a set of reliable data to analyze, you’ll need a program to insert your findings. Experts around the world choose Impactio, an all-in-one platform that takes researchers from start to publication and beyond.
With Impactio, you can easily compile your findings into text and chart formats, turn them into PDF documents and web pages, and submit your work seamlessly for publication. After publication, follow your work’s impact through Impactio’s citation indicator program and connect with your peers in the Impactio network. Everything you need as an academic researcher is available on one platform when you use Impactio.