International Journal of Internet Science

A peer reviewed open access journal for empirical findings, methodology, and theory of social and behavioral science concerning the Internet and its implications for individuals, social groups, organizations, and society.

Volume 10, Issue 1 (2015)

Will They Stay or Will They Go?
Personality Predictors of Dropout in an Online Study

Steffen Nestler, Meinald Thielsch, Elena Vasilev, & Mitja D. Back
University of Muenster, Germany

Abstract: We examined whether the Big Five personality dimensions and choice of reimbursement (participating in a lottery for a coupon vs. personality feedback) were related to respondents' motivation to continue filling out an online survey. A total of 3,013 individuals took part in an online study that asked them to rate a number of items separated into different question blocks. Using discrete-time survival analysis (DTSA), we found that Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and choosing to receive personality feedback had negative effects on dropout: They were related to a lower probability of quitting the survey. Furthermore, the effects of all four variables were mediated by satisfaction with the questionnaire in the previous question block. Practical implications for online research and implications regarding the role of personality in research participation in general are discussed.

Keywords: Online Research, web-survey research, big five personality measurement, dropout, nonresponse

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