Jun 07 2013

Understanding When and Why You Don’t Qualify for a Survey


Learn some of the common reasons that you may not qualify for certain surveys, and how you can increase your qualification chances.One of the biggest complaints that frustrates survey panelists is getting disqualified from a survey. This is illustrated with comments like:

I answered several questions and then It tells me that I am not qualified. Are they just using my answers and not paying me.

There are several reasons why you may not qualify for a survey, but the bottom line is that if the survey panel cannot use your answers, then they cannot compensate you the full amount for the survey. The good news is that most survey panels will offer you a small compensation for your time; some offer small cash amounts, others give sweepstakes entry. Here are several scenarios that may occur that would result in someone not qualifying for a survey.

Typical Survey Panel Scenarios that Result in Not Qualifying for the Survey

  1. You get disqualified from the survey after spending up to five minutes answering questions. An example might be that the survey panel was looking for 26 year old single males from Michigan that go to the movies at least once a month, and saw Iron Man 2 in theater last week. You may be 26, you may be from Michigan, you might be single male, and you may go to the movies once a month, but you may not have seen Iron Man 3 (Good flick by the way). In this case you may spend several minutes answering background questions on the survey before you get disqualified. Final Verdict: You do not fit the specific qualifications for the survey study.
  2. You immediately get disqualified from a survey after saying your age, race, marital status, etc. In this case there may have been lets say 100 slots for each age group, and while the study was still open, your particular age group slot was filled. Final Verdict: The survey study was filled for your particular demographic.
  3. You spend over five minutes answering survey questions and then get disqualified. This is the scenario that can really frustrate individuals. This can happen for several reasons, but the usual verdict is that you were not really concentrating on the survey study. Many survey studies have special techniques to detect whether the survey panelist is really engaged and taking the survey study seriously. If they feel that you are not really taking it seriously, they may abruptly disqualify you, even after you have spent several minutes on the study. Here are a few examples of survey panel quality control scenarios.
    • Question number 50 stated “Answer C for this question for quality control purposes.” But you answer D. You are not reading the questions.
    • The survey should have taken 10 minutes for the average person to get to question 30, but you did it in 4 minutes. You were rushing.
    • The survey may asked you how you “Did you eat dinner at a fast food restaurant last week?” You answer yes. Then they ask how many fast food dinners did you have last week, and you answer none. Your answers are inconsistent

Now these are just a few reasons why you may get screened out from a survey, but the bottom line is that not qualifying for every survey is normal and sometime a little frustrating, but hopefully it will not discourage you from taking more surveys. To better ensure that you are getting survey studies that are more in line with your background, it is important to fill out the profile surveys in the member’s area of the panel(s) you join, and of course take your time to answer all the questions carefully. This will increase your chances of getting survey studies that are more in line with your demographics.

There may be times when you experience a technical glitch during the survey, and you may be unable to complete the survey or submit your answers. In this case it is important to record the time, information about the survey study, and what occurred. If you submit this information to the technical support staff of the survey panel, they can sometimes recover your answers or offer you some form of compensation.

Of course there are some survey panels that are more efficient in their disqualification processes and ability to match their member’s profiles with appropriate survey studies. This is partly due to the fact that some survey panels redistribute surveys from third parties, which means that you may have to answer screener questions that sometimes duplicate information in your profile surveys. This can be a little frustrating, but using third parties allows survey panels to offer you more survey studies.

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