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Chinese modesty doesn’t exist online

Chinese modesty doesn’t exist online

The Chinese are more candid answering surveys online than being asked face-to-face, according to new research from Survey Sampling International (SSI).

Modesty is highly valued and regarded as one of the ‘Five Virtues’ in Chinese culture.

Asian customs avoid criticism; so answers a respondent gives may be misleading. Motivated by the respondent’s wish to be polite, the answers are untrue; therefore limit the value of the results.

According to a recent study by SSI the shift from offline research to online research has resulted in an extreme increase in the validity of findings.

The SSI survey found that fewer people were willing to voice a strong opinion when interviewed offline (i.e. in person), preferring the “safety” of choosing a response in the middle of a scale of options.

Offline there were only 111 extreme answers at either end of the spectrum of options but 772 midpoint responses. A high amount of midpoint responses doesn’t give the researchers much data to work with and makes it harder to identify opinions and trends.

On the contrary, online research generated three times as many strong opinions (378) and only half the amount of midpoint responses (386). Online research elicited a clearer higher average score.

Vice President, Global Marketing Survey Sampling International for SSI, Harry Kelly, said, “The data gathered in this survey outlines quite significantly how marketing and market research in China is affected by culture.

“New techniques like online panels offer solutions to get a better idea of what the majority thinks.”

Online research has a much lower (6%) dropout rate (the number of respondents who don’t complete a survey), compared to offline respondents (46%), according to the survey.

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