Five Reasons Why Online Surveys are So Popular
Hello everyone! This week FluidSurveys has decided that it would be great to discuss the several advantages to conducting survey research online rather than through the use of other mediums. Surveying can be completed in many different ways, including by telephone, in-person interviews, mail, email or internet.
The question of what is the best surveying methodology has been hotly debated for many years. While each of these methods have their own merits, it is online internet surveys that now stand out as the best way to conduct survey research. Let’s go over some reasons why!
Benefits of Online Surveys
1) Cost: The most obvious benefit to online surveys is the low cost of conducting your research on the internet as opposed to telephone, in-person, or mail. Internet surveys only require a software account and invitations to be sent for the field work process. This is opposed to the high cost of paying multiple interviewers for phone and in-person surveys, or paying for the materials and mailing costs associated with mail surveys.
2) Use of Programming Logic: When done correctly programming logic like skipping, branching, extraction, and piping on your surveys will have several benefits. First, it takes away any skip errors on the interviewer’s part, since the survey design is pre-set to follow any line of responses. Second, online surveys use branching logic to avoid the irrelevant questions that would have to be included in a paper or email survey. For example, if a survey asked you to select from a list the sports you currently play and allotted specific questions to each one, internet surveys could be programmed to automatically skip questions for non-selected sports. This is opposed to other self-administered survey methods where the researcher would need to include N/A options or write ups telling the respondent how to know which questions to skip.
3) Less Bias: Internet surveying allows for less biased results in various ways. Though questions can be written in biased manners, the tones and appearances of interviewers have been known to affect how respondents answer questions. This is not a problem with internet surveys that allow the questionnaire to be provided exactly the same way to each participant in the study, effectively eliminating any possible interviewer bias. It has also been shown that respondents are much more likely to succumb to social desirability bias (the tendency to provide answers that are not accurate but are desirable in society) when they are being interviewed by a person. Filling out a survey online gives respondents a greater feeling that they are not being judged and their information is confidential.
4) Integration of Images, Links, Sound, and Video: This is quite clearly one of the greatest advantages to online surveys. With links to external resources and providing visual and audio aids to your respondents, the researcher is not only making the survey more entertaining and interactive but can also educate respondents while they are taking the survey. For example, if you were asking for a respondent to comment on a new website, you can provide a link to the site at the beginning of your survey and ask the respondent to take a few minutes to browse it before filling out the questions. Another example of using interactive aids effectively in a survey is gaining feedback on different advertisement videos by placing them inside the survey for respondents to watch and provide immediate input. Neither of these examples would be possible through other forms of surveying and both exemplify the vast amount of options a researcher gains through conducting their study with an internet survey.
5) Speed: Online surveys can be done faster than any other form of survey research. Once the survey is created and its link is sent to the participants, responses are automatically stored in a database. That means that researchers receive their data in real time. Beyond this, the programming logic should allow for easier data cleaning. Most survey software, including FluidSurveys, have the ability to automatically discard answers that opt out of providing information (N/A, Not Sure, I don’t know, etc.). Furthermore, through the use of skipping, respondents should only be answering questions relevant to themselves. These features make for better organized data and an easier data cleaning experience. So not only is online surveying fast because the responses are provided instantaneously on completion, but it also saves time in the organizing of the information collected.
By making use of these great benefits of online surveying, your research will be faster, cost less, and gain more valuable information.
Tell Us Your Online Survey Experiences
So now that we gave you some firepower for your next market research methodology debate, we want to hear from you. Why are you a fan of online surveying? What drawbacks have you encountered in your research? We would love to get your take in the comments below! If you have yet to make your own FluidSurveys account, get started surveying for free by visiting our account creation page!
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