Surveys are a common instrument to gauge self-reported opinions from the crowd for scholars in the CSCW community, the social sciences, and many other research areas. Researchers often use surveys to prioritize a subset of given options when there are resource constraints. Over the past century, researchers have developed a wide range of surveying techniques, including one of the most popular instruments, the Likert ordinal scale, to elicit individual preferences. However, the challenge to elicit accurate and rich self-reported responses with surveys in a resource-constrained context still persists today. In this study, we examine Quadratic Voting (QV), a voting mechanism powered by the affordances of a modern computer and straddles ratings and rankings approaches, as an alternative online survey technique. We argue that QV could elicit more accurate self-reported responses compared to the Likert scale when the goal is to understand relative preferences under resource constraints. We conducted two randomized controlled experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk, one in the context of public opinion polling and the other in a human-computer interaction user study. Based on our Bayesian analysis results, a QV survey with a sufficient amount of voice credits, aligned significantly closer to participants' incentive-compatible behaviors than a Likert scale survey, with a medium to high effect size. In addition, we extended QV's application scenario from typical public policy and education research to a problem setting familiar to the CSCW community: a prototypical HCI user study. Our experiment results, QV survey design, and QV interface serve as a stepping stone for CSCW researchers to further explore this surveying methodology in their studies and encourage decision-makers from other communities to consider QV as a promising alternative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number182
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2021


  • collective decision-making
  • empirical studies
  • likert scale
  • quadratic voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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