Research and respondent self-assessment

By Harpal Awan

Can a respondent’s own judgement of their knowledge, experience or understanding be reliable in respondent recruitment? In our experience the answer to this is ‘no’.

And this is because, without boundaries around what constitutes ‘high’ or ‘low’, a person’s perception will differ from our own.

So, simply relying on a respondent’s self-assessment of their knowledge or experience in a pre-qualifying questionnaire can cause problems later on in research.

One method we use for mitigating this risk is to evaluate their knowledge in two ways. Firstly, respondents are asked to self-assess on their level of knowledge and confidence as above. But this is substantiated with a second question, which assesses their knowledge or experience in more detail.

For instance, if recruiting for a financial services client we may ask them to list or describe a particular financial product which is compared with a pre-determined list of features or characteristics.

By asking this additional question we are better able to assess their level of knowledge and are therefore better able to determine whether their self-assessment is accurate saving time and effort later on once the respondent has been recruited.

Harpal Awan

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