3 types of attention checks

Just in case you were wondering:

Attention filter: an attention filter is a ‘trick question’ found in a large block of text. The large block of text describes the purpose of the study, and often ends with directions to ‘click on all sports you enjoy watching on television’ followed by a long list of sports. In the center of the large block of text will be directions telling the respondent to either click on one specific sport only, or to click on the ‘other’ box and write in a phrase such as “I’m paying attention”

Trap questions: Trap questions are designed to trap individuals who are speeding or cheating as they take the survey. These are inserted into the survey flow and require a specific answer. They are best used when providing a large number of statements (for example, statements that make up a scale in a matrix-type response format). The intent of the Trap question is obvious, but when it is in a matrix it is more difficult for someone speeding through the survey to spot. If an individual is lucky, he or she might answer one Trap question successfully. In a large matrix, adding in several Trap questions will increase the chances that you find someone who is not paying attention.


Reverse wording: reverse wording changes the direction of the scale by asking the question in a positive (or negative) voice. When designing a survey, ask the same question two different times, once in the positive voice, and once using negative voice. Then when analyzing the results, you can reverse the score on the negative version of the question. Once the negative version of the score is reversed, the score should be the same for both questions.

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