Does use of survey incentives degrade data quality?

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2015-05-28
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Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum
Abstract
Overall, this study found little evidence that survey incentives negatively affect data quality. Our analyses showed minimal differences between incentive and non-incentive groups with regard to straight-lining, item skipping, total missing items, and survey completion. Contradicting Barge and Gehlbach's finding, we found, in fact, that incentive respondents actually had better data quality than non-incentive respondents. Measurement invariance analysis also demonstrated that the presence of an incentive did not compromise the validity of NSSE Engagement Indicator scores or the underlying factor structures. The current study's findings with such a robust sample should allay any serious concerns NSSE users may have about incentives undermining data quality.
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Paper presented at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum Denver, CO, May 2015.
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