In their study meant to evaluate biases between traditional and social media-administered surveys, Kalimeri et al. (2020) explore the unique observatory function of social media for human behaviors. The scholars note that social media offers an excellent opportunity to researchers by enabling them to conduct large-scale studies and research, particularly with the use of surveys that contain complex sociodemographic questions. With this in mind, the investigation’s focus is to identify and assess biases that arise when administering surveys in social media. The study further aims to elucidate various phenomena, including self-selection, population, behavioral biases, and psychometric and demographic attributes. The study uses the empirical comparison between the consistency of results from questionnaires administered through social media and self-reported information collected using traditional methods.
The study, therefore, first engages a pool of around 4,000 young adults from Italy, requiring them to participate in a traditional online survey. After one year, the study engages the same participants for the same survey but instead requires them to use an ad hoc Facebook application. Assessment of statistically significant differences is then conducted to investigate behavioral biases as a result of the differences in context in which both surveys were administered.
The study demonstrates social media’s practicality in conducting surveys as it finds no significant biases were exhibited in the Facebook-administered surveys, contrasted with traditional surveys, in terms of neither personality traits nor demographics. Furthermore, the study finds that binding social values, such as authority and loyalty, were more prevalent in the Facebook-administered surveys because of the platform’s innate social character. In conclusion, therefore, the study establishes social media as a sound research tool for conducting psychometric and demographic surveys, given that all biases involved are well anticipated.
Kalimeri, K., Beiró, M. G., Bonanomi, A., Rosina, A., & Cattuto, C. (2019). Evaluation of biases in self-reported demographic and psychometric information: traditional versus Facebook-based surveys. arXiv preprint arXiv:1901.07876.