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Making use of Internet interactivity to propose a dynamic presentation of web questionnaires


New methodologies that aim to collect data in innovative ways (e.g. big data) are putting pressure on the traditional surveys based on questionnaires. In order to obtain from respondents the necessary effort to provide high quality data, we propose to help respondents focusing on the tasks one at the time by using a dynamic presentation of web questionnaires combined with a timing control. This work explores a development strategy for such questionnaires. The results show an overall good survey experience, and some significant improvement of data quality. In particular, a much larger proportion of respondents followed properly specific instructions added to check that they were reading carefully. Therefore, it seems that these dynamic questionnaires could be considered for future data-collection.

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  1. 1.

    We should note that most of these possibilities are also available in computer-assisted surveys. However, as this study has been implemented with Internet surveys, we will maintain the terminology of Internet surveys throughout the paper.

  2. 2.

    Some studies tried to sensitize respondents to the importance of their answers to make them think more deeply about their responses, but it does not seem to be very efficient (see, for instance, Revilla 2015).

  3. 3.

    The instruction was: “select this category beside the five options you think are most important”. It was placed in the 9th row of a grid where people had to select five options they found most important in each of three different columns.

  4. 4.

    There was a third open narrative question in the survey but it was related to the survey experience, so it is possible that the respondents in the treatment groups wrote more because they had more to say. For this reason, we did not use it here.


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We would like to thank Germán Loewe and Willem Saris for their support and their helpful comments on a previous draft of this paper, as well as two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Melanie Revilla.

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Revilla, M., Ochoa, C. & Turbina, A. Making use of Internet interactivity to propose a dynamic presentation of web questionnaires. Qual Quant 51, 1321–1336 (2017).

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  • Web surveys dynamic questionnaires
  • Quality
  • Response times
  • Survey experience
  • Netquest