What is acquiescence bias in market research?
Acquiescence bias is favoritism which occurs in both qualitative and quantitative research in which the respondent aims to please the moderator or interviewer by being overly-friendly, showing a tendency to agree with whatever concept is presented to them. This most commonly occurs in qualitative research because exploratory research using in-depth interviews (IDIs) or focus groups allow for more rapport to be built between interviewer and interviewee (as opposed to a mass-scale telephone survey or online survey).
Because qualitative research often involves honorariums or incentives, there is an added level of bias in which participants are even more willing to agree or be positive about concepts and ideas presented within the research, thinking their responses may somehow impact qualification or even payout amounts.
However, a key to being a good interviewer or moderator is the ability to build rapport with your respondent(s). By building rapport it makes the respondent feel at ease and be direct, honest, and forthcoming in his or her opinions. So the idea with acquiescence bias is not to attempt to avoid it, because it will be somewhat inherent for good moderators, but rather it expresses the importance of the moderator to continually challenge responses, probe for more depth on feedback, and continue to dig into the "why?" By challenging responses and attempting to mitigate acquiescence bias, it will ensure you collect more accurate, more precise, and more data free of bias.
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