Straightlining in Web survey panels over time

Matthias Schonlau, Vera Toepoel


Straightlining, an indicator of satisficing, refers to giving the same answer in a series of questions arranged on a grid. We investigated whether straightlining changes with respondents’ panel experience in two open-access Internet panels in the Netherlands: the LISS and Dutch Immigrant panels. Specifically, we considered straightlining on 10 grid questions in LISS core modules (7 waves) and on a grid of evaluation questions in both the LISS panel (150+ waves) and the Dutch immigrant panel (50+ waves). For both core modules and evaluation questions we found that straightlining increases with respondents’ panel experience for at least three years. Straightlining is also associated with younger age and non-western 1st generation immigrants. Where straightlining was a plausible set of answers, prevalence of straightlining was much larger (15-40%) than where straightlining was implausible (<2% in wave 1).


data quality, grid question, matrix question, satisficing, panel conditioning

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2015 Survey Research Methods

Hosted by the Library of the University of Konstanz