Connors, E. C., Krupnikov, Y., & Ryan, J. B. (2019). How Transparency Affects Survey Responses. Public Opinion Quarterly, 83(Suppl. 1), 185–209. https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfz013
Following a shift toward greater transparency, many academic journals across a variety of disciplines now require authors to post their data. At the same time, many university Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have followed recent US federal guidelines and now require researchers to be more transparent with survey participants regarding what will happen to the collected data. In this paper, we take the first steps toward considering the interaction between these two survey research developments. Using a nationally representative panel, we show that informing survey participants that their de-identified data will be publicly shared by a researcher can affect how these participants answer certain questions. In some cases, public posting notifications can increase data quality (e.g., knowledge measures), but in other cases informing participants of the data’s future use can exacerbate social desirability issues (e.g., turnout). Our results suggest conditional costs and benefits to the intersection between two critical ethical norms underlying survey research: data-sharing and informed consent.
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