World-Wide Web survey research: Benefits, potential problems, and solutions

Abstract

The World-Wide Web presents survey researchers with an unprecedented tool for the collection of data. The costs in terms of both time and money for publishing a survey on the Web are low compared with costs associated with conventional surveying methods. The data entry stage is eliminated for the survey administrator, and software can ensure that the data acquired from participants is free from common entry errors. Importantly, Web surveys can interactively provide participants with customized feedback. These features come at a price—ensuring that appropriately written software manages the data collection process. Although the potential for missing data, unacceptable responses, duplicate submissions, and Web abuse exist, one can take measures when creating the survey software to minimize the frequency and negative consequences of such incidents.