Research participation rates: the role of the social perception of psychological researchers and framing of expected research findings on people’s willingness to participate
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High participation rates to surveys are important to psychological research as they largely determine the power and objectivity of research findings. In the current study, we explored how the framing of a request to participate in a scientific study affects people’s willingness to participate in research and whether this is mediated by the social perception of the researchers conducting the study. Through an online questionnaire, we examined whether the specification of who conducts the research (i.e., the ‘source’: three psychological specializations, namely organizational psychologists, social psychologists and psychologists) and framing expected research findings in terms of warmth or competence, affect people’s willingness to participate. Furthermore, we examined whether this is mediated by the social perception of the sources in terms of warmth, competence and social status. Results showed this was not the case. Interestingly and relevant for future psychological (field) research, the findings indicate that ‘psychologists’ as well as ‘social’ and ‘organizational’ psychologists are perceived as relatively high in terms of warmth, competence and social status. Further findings included the researcher’s warmth and social status being related to willingness to participate and framing expected research findings did not yield significant differences in willingness to participate. However, further research is needed to properly address the relationship of warmth and social status with willingness to participate. Future researchers are also recommended to make use of pilot studies to test the social perception of the source and to focus on a single aspect of this study.