Whether on the giving or receiving end, many of us may have had an experience with answering or administering a survey at one point in our lives. One of the more popular requirements for graduation is a thesis and one of the most common methodologies to complete it is to conduct a survey to get data from respondents.
In most companies, decisions are often made based on research designed to study a specific segment of their target market or to test a new and upcoming product.
A few years back, researchers were limited to traditional research methodologies like face-to-face interviews, focused group interviews, and handing out questionnaires to respondents. But given a lot of digital innovations throughout recent years, the use of online survey tools have become increasingly popular with more and more researchers. Rightly so, the advantages and possibilities appear to be considerable.
But before you ditch that paper and pencil method and put all your eggs in the proverbial basket that is an online survey, take a quick look at the below as we give you a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of using online survey:
- Aren’t we all familiar with the convenience brought about by using the internet? Using online surveys will enable a researcher, whether a student or a professional, to reach out to as many respondents at once without even leaving the comforts of their home or office!
A researcher need not even worry about crossing borders and countries as a respondent thousands of miles away will be able to participate in one click of a button.
We can also say goodbye to countless hours of encoding responses! Using an online survey makes it easier to consolidate, process and filter data. This is because responses are all in digital form and received in real-time. This will also save researchers plenty of time which they can use to work on other important aspects of the research.
- From physically going to the location to making sure everyone will have the means to participate, to arranging a venue, food and even tokens, data gathering can easily be one of the most expensive part of doing research.
Whether you’re a student relying on your allowance, a researcher relying on a study grant or an employee relying on a limited company research budget, these expenses will definitely add up.
Imagine spending only a fraction of what you’re going to spend on these things if you do an online survey instead? It’s very cost-efficient as you don’t need to spend a lot of your resources and your time to get the data you need in order to keep your research project going.
- As the researcher is not physically present when a respondent is answering a question or sharing personal details, the validation process may be limited and there is always a possibility that some respondents may misrepresent.
As preserving the integrity of the research is important, whatever results the research will come up with will be questionable. Thus, the focus on having accurate data cannot be overlooked.
- Most online surveys require personal details such as name, age and employment information to be shared online. This is done in order to vet if the respondents are part of the target audience and required sample population. As this information is shared online, there is a possibility for unscrupulous individuals to hack this information for personal gain.
Your participation may also be compromise: not just your own personal information but other respondents as well. Safeguards against this incident are increasing as innovations become more advanced. However, it is always best to be discerning and on the side of caution.
- LIMITATION ON RESPONSES
- Most online surveys are multiple-choice oriented questionnaires. Because of that, respondents are limited to giving the answers that are among what is already provided.
Although some research topics require and even encourage this type of research methodology, there are some topics that require more probing questions to get the answer.
Most of the time, an online survey has a limited capacity to do this. Some respondents even skip the open-ended questions or only give very short answers.
Online surveys, as with most things that can be done on the internet, are not only convenient, but it is also very cost-efficient. However, as discussed, there can also be some negative sides to it. Therefore, before you decide which method of data gathering you will use, whether it be conventional methods of research or online surveys, evaluate what will be the best option for your purpose.
If you’ll be able to make the most out of this wonderful tool that is the online survey and at the same time minimize the disadvantages – why not?