Online (Internet) surveys are becoming an essential research tool for a variety of research fields, including marketing, social and official statistics research. According to ESOMAR online survey research accounted for 20% of global data-collection expenditure in 2006. They offer capabilities beyond those available for any other type of self-administered questionnaire. Online consumer panels are also used extensively for carrying out surveys but the quality is considered inferior because the panelists are regular contributors and tend to be fatigued. However, when estimating the measurement quality (defined as product of reliability and validity) using a multitrait-mutlimethod approach (MTMM), some studies found a quite reasonable quality and even that the quality of a series of questions in an online opt-in panel (Netquest) was very similar to the measurement quality for the same questions asked in the European Social Survey (ESS), which is a face-to-face survey.
Some studies have compared the quality of face-to-face surveys and/or telephone surveys with that of online surveys, for single questions, but also for more complex concepts measured with more than one question (also called Composite Scores or Index). Focusing only on probability-based surveys (also for the online ones), they found overall that the face-to-face (using show-cards) and web surveys have quite similar levels of measurement quality, whereas the telephone surveys were performing worse. Other studies comparing paper-and-pencil questionnaires with web-based questionnaires showed that employees preferred online survey approaches to the paper-and-pencil format. There are also concerns about what has been called "ballot stuffing" in which employees make repeated responses to the same survey. Some employees are also concerned about privacy. Even if they do not provide their names when responding to a company survey, can they be certain that their anonymity is protected? Such fears prevent some employees from expressing an opinion.
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F.A.Q. about Online surveys
What does Online Survey mean?
An online survey is a questionnaire that the target audience can complete over the Internet. Online surveys are usually created as Web forms with a database to store the answers and statistical software to provide analytics. People are often encouraged to complete online surveys by an incentive such as being entered to win a prize.
Companies often use online surveys to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ tastes and opinions. Like traditional surveys, online surveys can be used in two basic ways: To provide more data on customers, including everything from basic demographic information (age, education level and so on) to social data (causes, clubs or activities the customer supports) To create a survey about a specific product, service or brand in order to find out how consumers are reacting to it. In contrast to traditional surveys, online surveys offer companies a way to sample a broader audience at a lower cost.