Google Research

Effects of Pagination on Short Online Surveys


When designing online surveys, researchers must choose from a variety of pagination options. Respondents' expectations, experiences, and behaviors may vary depending on a survey's pagination, affecting both breakoffs and responses themselves. Surprisingly little formal experimentation has been conducted on the effects of survey pagination, with initial evidence focused on a long survey of university students (Peytchev, Couper, McCabe, Crawford 2006). This experiment is intended to further inform the effects on pagination in online surveys. In a split-ballot experiment, we served respondents one of three versions of a short online questionnaire (~15 questions) on attitudes and experiences toward an online product. questionnaire are randomly served to respondents constructed with a) one question per page, b) logical groupings of questions over several pages, and c) as few pages as possible. Effects of pagination are evaluated on breakoff rates, response time, item and unit nonresponse, interitem correlations, and perceived length/difficulty. We hypothesize that the questionnaire with the fewest (longest) pages will cause greater initial breakoff, and the one with most pages will suffer increased breakoff during the survey.

Learn more about how we do research

We maintain a portfolio of research projects, providing individuals and teams the freedom to emphasize specific types of work