Pros and Cons of Online Surveys
Pros of Online Surveys
There are many advantages of using web-based surveys compared to traditional mail or face to face methods. Web-based surveys have the same strength as paper versions in that they allow respondents to take their own time to complete the survey. If it is administered anonymously then online surveys may be better at addressing sensitive questions, because an interviewer is not present asking the questions directly. Email is less expensive and it brings an end to the slower mail process. It is also a faster transmission of the survey itself to the participants, and the results come back faster to you, the researcher. In addition, web-based surveys are sometimes seen as “environmentally friendly” due to the online format‟s non-use of paper.
Interesting and good graphics are important elements in paper based surveys, but an online survey can truly present well laid out and visually pleasing survey designs. Web surveys can utilize colors, images, and hyperlinks. Web surveys are also dynamic, which means they can provide statistical results on an immediate basis. In addition, the actual response time of participants is fairly quick for online surveys that are delivered through email. Many people will answer the survey within few days of receiving the email invite, and in some cases you will see a large number of responses the day you send out the email invitation.
Another benefit of using email to collect responses is the ability to track your respondents. You, the researcher, can track who has or has not responded and who has declined. You can also track the email address or name associated with the individual survey response.
The online survey tool can administer skip logic techniques easier than a paper based survey. This is done by routing respondents automatically to a page of follow-up questions based on the answer choice they have selected.
A final advantage of using online surveys is the use of “randomized answer choices.” Here the survey can pull up the answer choices in a randomized order every time the link is accessed by a new respondent. This may help in alleviating question choice bias, and to deter the case where a person is simply clicking the first answer choice for every question to quickly get through a survey.
Cons of Online Surveys
We would like for you to be aware of the possible “cons” or issues that may arise from implementing an online survey. People may feel that emailed surveys raise ethical concerns and can be intrusive. Sending unsolicited emails (or too many emails) may invade a person‟s privacy.
Non-delivered email or messages rejected as SPAM can sometimes be a concern for survey authors.
One final thing that researchers must take into consideration is that the Internet is not always a perfect world. Please be aware that there are potential technical glitches that may arise on your end, on our end, on your survey respondent‟s end, or at any step in between. Our computers, the survey author‟s computer, and the respondent‟s computer may all be functioning at 100% but one of the nodes that routes the data between these computers may not be functioning. Many times a survey respondent‟s Internet provider may be experiencing issues, or his/her computer or web browser may not be configured properly. If there is ever a server issue or technical issue on our end we will promptly address it, fix it, and get you back up to speed! We do have an extremely strong track record of performance and we are listed as one of the leading online survey tools.