December 1, 2022
3 Problems With Online Surveys and How to Solve Them
The internet has been useful for companies conducting research to learn more about their customer’s likes and dislikes, and how to offer products that meet their customer’s expectations. And while online surveys have their advantages, such as ease of collection of data, convenience for the respondents, and flexibility in the design of the surveys, there are some specific problems with online surveys that companies should have front of mind when conducting their own research projects.
When thinking about how much online traffic is generated by bots, both helpful and harmful, it’s no wonder that bots have infiltrated online surveys. Bots damage the accuracy of the panels participating in online surveys when they are used by people who are after the monetary compensation that is offered to the survey participants. That compensation is often provided digitally, making it easy for bad actors to grab the incentives for themselves. The ease of obtaining bots to take these online surveys makes the problem even more insidious.
Professional Survey Takers
The internet has made data collection from online surveys much easier, but it has also given rise to what has been called ‘professional’ survey takers’. These survey takers are people who regularly seek out online surveys to take in exchange for money, rewards, and other incentives for completing the survey. There are even sites and blogs that point people in the direction of online surveys that offer compensation of some sort. The problem with these survey takers is that if they are not representative of the population you intend to target with your research, the findings will be useless in the end.
Another issue that researchers encounter is online survey takers becoming tired, bored, or otherwise disinterested while participating in the survey. Called survey fatigue, which can affect the quality of the responses. This can happen in two ways: first, respondents can become overwhelmed by the number of questions on the survey before they even begin taking it, and decide to opt-out, leading to a low response rate. Second is the fatigue that sets in during the process of completing the survey when the survey itself is overly long and the questions are not applicable to the respondent.
So what can researchers do to avoid these problems in their online surveys? What are the solutions that can be employed to increase the quality of both respondents and responses?
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