Gummer, Tobias, Tanja Kunz, Tobias Rettig, and Jan Karem Höhne. 2023. "How to Detect and Influence Looking Up Answers to Political Knowledge Questions in Web Surveys." Public Opinion Quarterly, online first. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfad027
The study investigates looking up answers to political knowledge questions in web surveys. Previous research suggests that looking up answers artificially inflates knowledge scores and reduces the validity of these measures. The authors employ an experimental design to investigate whether different response instructions impact lookup behavior. Self-reported and paradata measures of lookups as well as a combined measure are compared in this study. Using data from the German Internet Panel, the authors found that a significant number of respondents engaged in lookup behavior. They tested various instruction types and found that discouraging instructions and explicit commitments to not look up answers were most effective in reducing lookups. The study illustrates the challenges and benefits of different measures to detect lookups in web surveys.