Tuesday, May 24, 2011

6 Online Survey Tips For Beginners

Internet–based free online surveys are everywhere! As long as you have access to the Internet, you can now create and respond to surveys online.  Sometimes you even get paid to answer it.  The good thing about online survey is the flexibility it can give to the researcher when presenting questions.  Because it is online, responses can be delivered and received quickly into the central database ready for analysis. No more paper reprints when there are errors.

But hey, print questionnaires cannot replaced by these webpage blitzes with auto computing functions. A disadvantage of online survey is based on Internet access. Not all people can answer free online surveys  and studies showed that respondents are biased to younger people. Some would even take it seriously through it because no one really supervises them when they are answering. Online survey is just alternatives in circumstances when the sampling allows the researcher to do so.

Organizations have been happily using online survey especially for getting all kinds of data like preferences, feedback, and opinions. If you want to get the most out of free online surveys, here are some great tips to follow:

1. Determine your purpose

Goals are important to have a realistic and measurable direction. What information do you need? Why do you need to post an online survey? How will you use the data collected? Thinking through it enables you to write the right questions and get the relevant data.

2. Select the right question format

Open-ended questions or close-ended questions? Open-ended questions are good for getting elaborate answers in qualitative research but it’s better for an online survey to have closed -ended questions because they are easier to answer and analyze (e.g. Yes/No) resulting to a higher response rate. Free online surveys  can also be in the form of multiple choice questions or check boxes. Just add an additional box for Others field to give space for extra answers.

3. Keep the survey concise

It’s not a good idea to have a survey with an extensive focus extensive focus. The tendency of long online survey is that they aren’t finished or not answered seriously.  Also, avoid lengthy wording in  free online surveys when you can state it in a simpler way. You’ll make the respondent take too much time reading your questions and possibly make them quit on the survey.

4. Inform and follow-up

Inform your respondents beforehand that you will conduct online survey on a specific schedule so they’ll be ready. Some people are not obliged to do such surveys but it won’t do any harm reminding them.  If they accepted your invitation for an online survey before, they are willing to answer it.

5. Start with a pilot survey

Hold your horses! It’s time to test your online survey first before you get the ball rolling. There might be errors and modifications that are yet to be discovered after several test responses.  Sometimes other people find it hard to understand your questions in your survey due to perceptive differences.

6. Offer incentives

It’s absolutely rewarding by simply giving your thoughts to an online survey. A caveat is when you offer an incentive that is too valuable and respondents may lie in order to avoid being phased out from the survey.


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