Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Surveys

Over the past decade, the use of online and mobile research methods like online surveys has skyrocketed.  Thanks to technological advances, you can now conduct research for a fraction of the cost and time. This makes collecting data easier than ever and better for everyone.

After every event, especially Cvent CONNECT, we use online surveys to get quick feedback. Our mobile event apps allow us to do these surveys immediately following sessions. They’re stress-free for everyone, which is great.

It’s normal to want to understand and weigh the precautions. For instance, are there any drawbacks compared to traditional methods like mail, telephone, and personal interviewing?

The rapid advances in technology can get confusing. There are great reasons to hop on the tech train and dive in, but it’s important to understand how it all works.

Advantages

Increased Response Rate

The low cost and overall convenience of online surveys bring in a high response. Respondents get to answer questions on their own schedule at a pace they choose.

Low Cost

Collecting data doesn’t have to break the bank anymore.  There are plenty of websites and platforms that make creating your survey fast and affordable.

Real-time Access

Respondents’ answers store automatically so you get results at your fingertips in no time. This turns analyzing your results into an effortless and immediate action.

Convenience

Respondents answer questions on their own schedule and can even have flexibility with completion time.

Rapid deployment and return times are possible with online surveys that don’t use traditional methods.  And, if you have bad contact information for some respondents, you’ll know it almost immediately.

Design Flexibility

Surveys can be programmed even if they’re very complex.  Intricate skip patterns and logic can be employed seamlessly.  You can create the layout, questions, and answer choices with no hassle.

No Interviewer

Since respondents are not disclosing their answers directly to another person, it is easier for them to open up. Interviewers can also influence responses in some cases.

Disadvantages

Survey Fraud

This is the biggest challenge. If your survey is long and/or confusing you might get fake answers. Since there is less accountability, the chances for people just hitting buttons to finish are high. Check the questions you use carefully.

People often take surveys because they’re promised a reward at the end, resulting in them not accurately contributing to your study.

Limited Sampling and Respondent Availability

Certain populations are less likely to have internet access and to respond to online questionnaires. Drawing samples is harder based on email addresses or website visitations.

Possible Cooperation Problems

Online surveys could be deleted and ignored. People hate feeling poked and if they get annoyed, they just have to click delete.

No Interviewer

The lack of a trained interviewer to clarify and probe can lead to less reliable data.


Caroline Howard

Written by Caroline Howard

Northern Virginia native turned southerner at The University of South Carolina. My skills include planning 4,000 attendee corporate events and then blogging about them. My friends always ask where I am, because when I'm not behind my laptop writing, I'm off exploring new places like Cuba and Spain.