Online Surveys

November 7, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Uncategorized

Often it can be forgotten just how much the Internet has revolutionised certain processes. There are websites that only exist due to the Internet, whereas there are other everyday tasks which have been changed beyond recognition due completely to the Internet.

An example of something new would be E-bay, that has brought buyers and sellers together in a manner that was never possible to do before; an example of a revolutionised process would be in conducting questionnaires.

There are very few people who would ever argue against the benefits of a questionnaire when they are used to determine the level of employee or customer satisfaction, gauge public opinion or provide market research.

However, traditionally the reason that surveys have been used sparingly was that the effort required to create the survey in the first place was cumbersome, and the effort and cost needed to disseminate the survey, collate the results and then analyse the results were definitely not insignificant.

For many, the results, regardless of how useful they proved, were typically tinged with a ‘not again’ feeling having experienced the quantity of effort that was once required.

Then along came the Internet to revolutionise the process.

Preparation

Although a word processor holds untold advantages over pen and paper for normal writing and correspondence, with regards to something particular like preparing and designing a survey it’s to some extent as sensible as using a wet fish.

It can be done, in a similar way as a hammer can be used with a screw, it’s far from perfect. Word-processors are good for documentation, correspondence and general writing; spreadsheets are ideal for dealing with numbers and online survey websites are perfect for preparing Surveys and Questionnaires questionnaires.

With an internet survey website questionnaires can be created, designed and easily modified using any browser through the use of fast and simple interfaces. All the sophisticated formatting is taken care of as, unlike a word processor, the survey software is aware of all there’s to know about questionnaires.

Dissemination

The Internet is the most effective form of world communication known to man. Gone are the days of having to print hardcopy questionnaires, stuffing them into envelopes and mailing them, all costly and time consuming. With the online survey once created they are good to go normally by sending the link to the questionnaire in an electronic mail or by establishing a hyperlink to the questionnaire on a website; processes that are both rapid and just about free.

Collating

Where as previously completed surveys and questionnaires had to be posted back and then collated by transferring the data into a database either manually or by utilizing some type of optical reader, on-line surveys update the database in real-time.

The Internet has revolutionised the entire process and in doing so has made something that was considered useful, but expensive and cumbersome, into a resource that is so fast and simple that surveys can be used to deliver benefits to many other everyday areas.

With survey websites the limitations to conducting questionnaires have been torn down. Now they provide a cost effective and easy resource that is open to not only the small charity and local community group but additionally the biggest of the world’s multi-nationals.

No longer are geographical borders of any concern a questionnaire can now be published to the whole world as simply and for a similar cost as a local or internal group.

Easier to Test

In addition, questionnaires can now be easily tested from beginning to end to make sure that not only is the questionnaire straightforward for the respondents to complete but also that the information gathered is in the precise format to provide the required intelligence.

Easier to Complete

No longer is there the need to ask respondents to skip certain questions depending on their previous answers, with online surveys and questionnaires you only need to ask respondents the questions which are relevant to them as based on their answers irrelevant questions can be skipped with the respondent automatically being directed to the subsequent relevant question.

Partially Completed surveys and questionnaires

Prior to online surveys if a respondent didn’t fully complete a survey they would rarely bother sending the partially completed survey back. With on-line surveys there is no such problem as the information is collated in real time so information from partially completed questionnaires can still be counted.

In short online questionnaire websites have revolutionised the world of questionnaires.

With questionnaires, the effort and time required to create and design a survey has been slashed. The time, effort and cost required to deliver questionnaires to the respondents has been reduced to the press of a few buttons. The time effort and cost required to collate the information and analyse the data has been eliminated.

Pierre Travis is a part-time professor in Survey Methodology at the University of California he’s also a Harvard graduate where he studied mathematics. He has conducted research and published many articles in international scientific journals on laboratory and field-experimental studies concerning questionnaire design for face-to-face surveys, phone surveys and self-administered surveys. He has frequently lectured on comparative surveys and nonresponse and lately co-authored a book on nonresponse in the US Social Survey. He has designed social surveys, interviews, and observational studies within the US and Europe and his latest research interests includes the harmonization of socio-demographic variables for national and cross-national comparative research.

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