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

Questionnaires can be used to collect data for a research study. They typically have open or closed questions but some questionnaires use a combination of both. Open questions give respondents to respond in their own words. Closed questions give respondents an answer list that they can choose from. Questionnaires can be administered in one of many ways, including face-to-face interviews, telephone calls, postal mail, or even online.

Online questionnaire surveys are becoming frequent, but it’s vital to ensure that data collected is valid and reliable. To accomplish this researchers must be able accurately gauge response rates and determine the number of people who complete the survey. The researcher should be able to recognize possible reasons why someone might not be able to respond, and address these problems (e.g. sampling bias).

In addition that the cost of conducting online questionnaires is lower than traditional methods and can be an attractive alternative to traditional research using questionnaires. However, this method does not come without problems. Online questionnaires can be difficult to analyze in terms of their reliability and validity as well as their social desirability impacts on the respondent samples.

There are many methods to minimize the impact of these limitations on online questionnaires and web experiments. This article provides specific strategies that researchers can employ to improve the quality and reliability their online questionnaires. These include: (i), paying participants right away after they have completed the survey results in a lower rate of response than waiting for all responses or an intermediary process; (iii), asking participants to input their names for receipt preparation does not reduce or increase social desirability as well as (iv), framing the fixed portion of the payment as “for taking the survey” and giving feedback on progress improves the quality of responses

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