Follow these guidelines to maximize your chances of having a smoother experience and avoiding unnecessary disqualifications.
Online surveys are a popular means for many to earn a little extra cash, rewards, or simply contribute to research and product development. However, many participants encounter the frustration of being disqualified partway through. Here's how you can maximize your chances of completing online surveys without getting booted out:
- Thoroughly Read Questions: This sounds simple, but many survey disqualifications occur due to hasty responses or misunderstanding the question. Reading questions carefully ensures your answers are consistent and relevant.
- Complete Your Profile: Survey platforms rely on accurate information provided by you to determine the best survey match. Ensure your profile is completely accurate, so you get matched with appropriate surveys.
- Answer Honestly: Do not try to game the system by answering dishonestly in a way that you think will get you admitted to a survey. Surveys are designed to catch inconsistencies in responses, and any discrepancy may lead to disqualification – and could affect your ability to participate in other surveys.
- Be Patient: Some surveys have screener questions to determine if you're the target demographic. If you're not, it’s better to be disqualified early on rather than waste time on a survey that isn't a good fit.
- Stay Engaged: Surveys sometimes incorporate attention checks to ensure participants are genuinely engaged and not randomly clicking. These questions will be worded in such a way that those who aren't carefully reading the full text will answer incorrectly.
- Use a Reliable Internet Connection: If your connection drops in the middle of a survey, there’s a chance you might not be able to continue from where you left off.
- Avoid Speeding: Taking a survey too quickly can be a red flag. If you're ahead of the pack in terms of your progress through their survey given the time spent, they may assume you're not paying adequate attention or providing thoughtful responses, which can lead to disqualification.
- Don't Participate Through Too Many Panels: If you sign up for multiple survey sites, you might come across the same survey on different platforms. Taking the same survey multiple times can get you flagged, and you'll be less likely to qualify.
- Stay Updated on Survey Platform Policies: Platforms can update their terms of service or participation requirements. Familiarize yourself with these guidelines and any updates to stay in the loop.
- Participate Regularly: If you're an active member who frequently takes surveys, platforms might recognize your reliability and offer more opportunities or higher-value surveys.
- Provide Constructive Feedback: If you do get disqualified, see if there's a feedback option. By letting the platform know about your experience, you might help improve the survey-taking process for yourself and others.
- Understand It’s Not Always About You: Sometimes, surveys have a fixed number of participants from certain demographics. If that quota is reached, you might be disqualified regardless of your responses. The best thing to do in this case is try a different survey
- Be Aware Of Seasonal Trends: Surveys are managed by survey sponsors who have normal office hours. Many will pause their surveys while out of the office, which causes the number of surveys available to be reduced. Similarly, surveys that run on the weekend may be harder to complete as they are not monitored as closely and quotas may run out.
In short, the best you can do as a participant is exercise honesty, patience, and consistency!