Online Survey |
Surveys done through online / internet means have their own prospects and consequences.
1> Prospects – Response is received direct from horse’s mouth! However, the horse can be pretentious as a non-medical person can pose as a medical practitioner or a man can pretend as a female or a 60+ person can pose as a teenager etc.. But, where in proper screening is done through locks, checks and measures about the respondent person – online survey is very helpful in obtaining accurate and swift response.
2> Consequences – With favorable and not so favorable prospects it’s important to understand the results as well. While the data collection and collation efforts are considerably reduced and human interference is minimum – its important and essential that we get relevant and related responses – from a sincerely participating respondent. Sincerity is essential otherwise just for getting payment in exchange for opinion a respondent can hastily fill in the responses to the questions in the survey – at time even without reading it. This may lead to skewed results – however again if the steps at meticulously designed and followed there is nothing as effective as online survey for data collection and collation.
An online surveys has another element of bias in, and that is it obtains responses of only internet friendly users or the class of people who access internet conveniently and frequently. The deprived class of respondents would miss participation and their responses if required would be a tough nut to crack.
To offset the limitations of online survey – offline measures can help – but again the intent is important. Where in the researcher is stingy, the offline involvement can contaminate the data and hence adversely impact the results / outcome of the study.
Online Survey is not a cheap means – but an effective means of data collection of internet friendly population / sample. Nature of Respondent is important to be closely defined and so to keep the survey instrument / tool – the questionnaire respondent friendly. Too long questionnaire can lead to ennui and fatigue – drop in sincerity in quality of response. Most respondents would prefer select type responses than full type responses, so the scaled responses should be obtained by the researcher interested in using online survey method for data collection.
Earn incentives with online surveys can be as or even more expensive than offline option - but the briskness in data inflow and minimal human interface is making it a popular method amongst the data / market researchers. The data purity and accuracy is certainly better than the offline options – subject to checks and measures that should be in place for identifying the right respondent and making respondent to respond a convenient experience. Respondent should be adequately compensated for the time spared for responding and so should the agency mobilizing the respondents be remunerated. This will ensure taste and interest filled in the stake holders.
Survey designed and administered online is a meritorious task in itself. The perception about online survey should be clarified as a tool a means of data collection and not an end itself. It’s a start of process which will require interventions there onwards. These involved people should be learned, erudite personnel – to effectively manage the whole exercise with elan.
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