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What is a biased survey?
What are the biases in survey research?
Which survey is most likely affected by bias?
A) a survey of teenagers about their favorite colors
B) a survey of students about vacation policies in a school district
C) a survey of supermarket shoppers about products they would like to see added
D) a survey of bike riders on whether they wear helmets
Any survey-based research is only valuable if its results are valid. Still, many brands and companies are making important decisions based on unreliable data collection. There’s one factor they are not taking into account – different types of bias in research.
Bias is to surveys what kryptonite is to Superman – a weak spot. As a survey maker looking to get accurate data, you need to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to guard against bias. Often bias can creep into your research design and affect the quality of your data analysis without you even knowing it.
5 Main Types of Research Bias to Avoid in Your Research Process
1. Sampling bias
In the world of market research and surveys, sampling bias is an error related to the way the survey respondents are selected. It happens when a survey sample is not completely random. In other words, if certain types of survey takers are more or less likely to be chosen as a sample for your research, chances are high you’re dealing with sample selection bias.
2. Non-response bias
Even if you take utmost precautions to minimize sampling bias, it still doesn’t mean that you’re going to avoid other types of bias in research related to the structure of your survey respondents.
Equally distributing your surveys to all the relevant respondent groups doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get an equal number of responses from all of them. You may get your sampling perfectly right, but still, there’ll always be people unwilling or unable to take the survey.
3. Response bias
Having to persuade people to take your survey is hard enough. But getting them to merely respond doesn’t mean much to you if they don’t take the survey seriously. That being said, you also need to think about how to get the respondents to provide accurate and honest responses to your survey.
4. Question order bias
This is one of those types of bias in research many people don’t even pay attention to or realize it could cause bias. But the fact is that the order of both questions and answers could cause your survey respondents to provide biased answers.
5. Information bias
Information bias can refer to any misrepresentation of truthfulness that occurs during the collection, handling, or analysis of data in a research study, survey, or an experiment. Some of the most common forms of information bias include misclassification bias, recall bias, observer bias, and reporting bias.
As information bias can often stem from measurement and calculation errors, it is also sometimes referred to as measurement bias.