Most human subjects research involving contact with participants has been halted in the US due to the COVID-19 crisis. We have been testing an online method to recruit and survey participants as a temporary replacement for our street-intercept survey method. Online surveys already generate less generalizable findings than other surveys, but offering compensation for online survey completion further reduces generalizability because this increases mischievous submissions. In this letter we discuss methods to help detect invalid responses, such as utilizing a screener to test for eligibility and using flags to detect mischievous responses and repeat submissions. We recommend that researchers approach online recruitment and surveying with caution.
On the efficacy of online drug surveys during the time of COVID-19