Response Bias

Published Nov 18, 2023
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Response bias is the participant’s tendency to consciously or subconsciously provide inaccurate information. This is observed when a research study relies on self-reported data, so it’s important to keep in mind the limitations that come with it. For reasons that don’t pertain to the design, the user response may be inaccurate or misleading. A user may misremember information, leave out details that would be important, or change their responses to portray a certain self-image.


If a survey asks, “How much time do you typically spend on a popular social media app every day?”, participants may not know the exact amount. Their guess could be inaccurate, or they may report a lower number if they feel guilty about spending too much time on social media. To minimize response bias in this scenario, researchers need a way to obtain more accurate data. Some phones automatically track how much time is spent on each app. Asking participants to reference the data tracked by their phone should lead to more accurate responses.

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