Relevance & Research Question: The visual design of online surveys is a decisive factor as it contributes to the motivation of the participants to complete the survey. Pictures often fulfill the function of encouraging people, but it remains the question if they distort self-evaluations of participants in online surveys. The aim of this study was to test whether pictures, presented at the beginning of the survey, lead to an increase or decrease ? depending on the type of the picture ? of the participants' self-reported evaluations of work-life fusion and well-being.
Methods & Data: On the basis of an experimental design, 321 participants provided information on their well-being, work-life fusion, work-life conflict and burnout in an online survey. At the beginning of the survey, the participants of the experimental group were shown a picture. Participants were randomly assigned into three groups: Group 1: picture with a person at work, seeming relaxed and sitting on the beach; group 2: picture with a person in the office, seeming stressed and screaming; group 3: no picture. Univariate and multivariate ANOVAs were conducted.
Results: The pictures did not significantly distort participants' self-evaluations. All three experimental groups showed similar self-reports of well-being, work-life fusion, work-life conflict, and burnout. In addition, a shorter time lag between showing the pictures and participants' self-reports did not differ significantly from a longer time lag.
Added Value: At the present, studies on the effects of pictures in online surveys are rather sparse. Our study contributes to the current state of research on the question if pictures can be used in online surveys without distorting participants' self-evaluations.