My field of study is business communication and I tried to gather responses for my survey by contacting target audience by email directly, however response rates were next to 0%. Now I'm considering using paid participation survey service to gather information I need (which is possible with some screening).

1) How to include "paid participation survey" explanation in my methodology section? (Should I mention paid participation at all?)

2) Is it normal/generally accepted to use paid surveys in Academia, because articles I read on my field never mentioned it?

2 Answers 2


I'm not very familiar with paid participation surveys, but anyway the first step is always to seek approval by the ethics committee in your institution. They might require modifications in your methodology if they find some issues, and their approval will ensure that your study complies with minimal ethical standards.

In a publication you should definitely mention that participants were paid, since this is an important information about how the data was obtained. In general you should always explain the details about the recruitment method. Typically it could be a paragraph at the beginning of a "data" section, I'm not aware of any strict standard about this.

I've seen many cases where participants are offered a gift voucher of some kind, so I'd say it's quite common to compensate participants. There are also many studies which use crowdsourcing platforms where participants are paid for their time. I assume that it's also common in clinical trials but I'm not in the medical domain myself.

  • Thank you! I'm located in Japan and as far as I can understand regulations, my institution has ethics committee requirements only for behavioral research with human participants. In my case I'm studying corporate policies and my survey should fall under "informational survey" category. Yes, I'm going to put information about compensation in methodology section, I wondered if there is typical phrasing to explain this. Sep 20, 2019 at 14:01

The law in Japan may differ a lot from the US, but here paying subjects of research is an accepted, but regulated, process. See for example: https://acrpnet.org/2019/03/12/paying-subjects-to-take-part-in-research-a-new-perspective-on-coercion-and-undue-influence/. A search on the internet will turn up additional sources.

A paper (in the US) that results from such research would certainly reveal it in the methodology section. Moreover, the researcher would be expected to guard against the payments being construed by the subjects as inducement to give a particular response, rather than an honest one.

Many college students are, for example, paid to be subjects of research of various kinds. Some, of course, is better than others.

But you should discuss your plans with the ethics committee even if you think they might not have any issues. Let them decide that so that your path is clear.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .