The Challenges of Designing a Robot for a Satisfaction Survey: Surveying Humans Using a Social Robot

  • Scott HeathEmail author
  • Jacki Liddle
  • Janet Wiles


The field of social robotics promises robots that can interact with humans in a variety of naturalistic ways, due to their embodiment, considered form, and social abilities. For providing a satisfaction survey, when compared to a web-based form, a social robot is theoretically capable of providing some of the benefits of a face-to-face interview without requiring a human. In this paper we set up our social robot, Opie, with a dialog-enabled chat-bot to run a satisfaction survey using off-the-shelf technologies. We collected audio and transcripts during the interaction, and attitudes towards the survey after the interaction. Twenty-one participants were recruited for the study, each played two games on a tablet and answered survey questions to the robot and through an electronic form. The results indicated that while participants were able to provide answers to questions, none of the components of the robot were robust to all the different situations that emerged during the satisfaction survey. From these results, we discuss how errors affected survey answers (when compared to the electronic form), and attitudes towards the robot. We conclude with recommendations for a set of non-trivial abilities that are needed before social robot surveyors are a reality.


Social robots Chat-bots Language Communication Survey 



The authors would like to acknowledge the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) for funding (grant no. CE140100041), support, and discussion about social robots and language; the OPAL team for help using Opie; the HARLIE team for their AIML “brain”; and Chanon Kachornvuthidej for help with transcription.


This study was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) (Grant No. CE140100041).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This study was approved by the ethics committee at the University of Queensland’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (reference no. 2017001053).

Open practices

All non-identifiable data has been made publicly available on Gitlab ( This includes anonymised collected data except the audio recording.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information Technology and Electrical EngineeringThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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