Preprint Communication Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Wasps are Clever: Keeping Out and Finding Bot Answers in Internet Surveys Used for Health Research

Version 1 : Received: 11 March 2022 / Approved: 17 March 2022 / Online: 17 March 2022 (04:02:29 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 11 April 2022 / Approved: 13 April 2022 / Online: 13 April 2022 (06:32:09 CEST)

How to cite: Brainard, J.; Lane, K.; Watts, L.; Bunn, D. The Wasps are Clever: Keeping Out and Finding Bot Answers in Internet Surveys Used for Health Research. Preprints 2022, 2022030243 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202203.0243.v1). Brainard, J.; Lane, K.; Watts, L.; Bunn, D. The Wasps are Clever: Keeping Out and Finding Bot Answers in Internet Surveys Used for Health Research. Preprints 2022, 2022030243 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202203.0243.v1).

Abstract

Automated software bots infiltrate online surveys and corrupt data integrity, not to mention waste researcher time and budgets. Although resources exist to help keep bots out and identify bots when they do evade survey barriers, bot attacks may be a persistent problem for online surveys for a long time to come. Bots are evolving -- even as survey designers try ever more sophisticated methods to fend them off and weed their answers out. Vigilance needs to be high and the bot generators should not be under-estimated. We recount here some bot features we encountered after our own survey was attacked that helped to identify them, and that have not been detailed elsewhere. We also discuss reasons why commonly recommended strategies for how to keep bots out may not be feasible for many scientific researchers.

Supplementary and Associated Material

Keywords

data analysis; surveys and questionnaires; internet; social class

Subject

MEDICINE & PHARMACOLOGY, Other

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