How to Increase the Quality and Reliability of Online Questionnaires and Web Experiments

Questionnaires can be used to collect data for a study. They often feature open or closed questions, however some questionnaires might use an amalgam of both. Open questions give respondents the freedom to respond in their own words. Closed questions give respondents an array of predetermined answers which they can pick from. Questionnaires can be administered via phone, postal mail or online.

Online questionnaire surveys are becoming more popular however, it’s crucial to ensure that the data obtained are accurate and reliable. To do this researchers must be able to accurately gauge response rates and monitor the number of respondents to the survey. The researcher should be able to identify the possible reasons why someone might not respond and address the reasons (e.g. sampling bias).

Online questionnaires are also cheaper than traditional methods. This makes them a viable alternative to traditional questionnaire based research. However, this method does not come without problems. Online questionnaires aren’t easy to analyze in terms of their validity and accuracy as well as their negative social effects on respondent samples.

There are numerous ways to reduce the negative impact of these limitations on online questionnaires and web-based experiments. This article outlines specific methods that researchers can employ to improve the quality and reliability of their online questionnaires. These include: (i), paying participants right away after they have completed the survey yields an lower response rate than waiting for all responses or an intermediary method; (iii), asking participants to fill in their names so that receipt preparation does not reduce or increase the likelihood of them being socially desirable; and (iv) framing the fixed portion of a participant’s payment as»for completing the survey” and providing feedback on progress increases the quality of responses

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