An online survey is set of structured questions, that the respondent completes over the internet, generally through filling out a form. An online survey is an easier way to reach out to the respondents as it is less time consuming than the traditional way of gathering information through one to one interaction and also less expensive.
Online surveys can differ in length and format used. The data is collected and stored in a database which is later evaluated by an expert in the field.
As an incentive for respondents to fill out online surveys, businesses offer them with rewards like gift cards, reward points that they can redeem for goods or services later, free airline miles, discount at gas stations etc.
Online surveys with rewards is a win-win situation for both, businesses and respondents. The businesses or organizations get valuable data from a controlled environment, for the market research and for the respondents it’s a humble gesture from businesses to participate in the survey and spend their valuable time.
What are the Advantages of an Online Survey?
Online surveys are one of the less time-consuming methods to reach out to your target audiences, but that’s not the only advantage of an online survey, let us understand what are the other advantages of using online survey:
- Accuracy:In online surveys, usually the margin of error is reduced, as the respondents register their responses by easy selection buttons. Tradition methods require human interference and according to a study, human interference increase the margin of error by 10%.
- Easy and quick to analyze: Since all the responses are registered online, it is extremely easy and quick to analyze the data in real time. It is also quick to draw inferences and share the result.
- Ease of participation: In this new age technology-oriented universe, most people on this planet have access to the internet. Respondents prefer receiving the survey over the email. Ease of participation greatly increases as the respondents can choose a suitable time and place, according to their convenience to register their responses.
- Great branding exercise: While designing the survey online, organizations or businesses have this opportunity to design their survey to align to their brand. Using logos and similar brand language (color and fonts) in the survey, gives an advantage to the businesses as respondents are able to connect better with the brand.
- Respondents can be honest and flexible at the same time: According to a study researchers have found an increased participation by respondents when deployed with online surveys rather than answering lengthy questions. By designing surveys that ask relevant questions, respondents are honest with their answers and can skip the questions or respondent to a more neutral option in the survey, increasing their flexibility to respond.
How is a Survey Created and Designed?
As we explained before, a survey usually has its beginnings when a person, company or organization faces a need for information and there is no existing data that is sufficient. Take into account the following recommendations:
- Establish the objectives of your research. These objectives must be clear and specific.
- Develop a methodology. Take into account the way you will get your sample to reduce the margin of error, decide how you will carry out the collection of information, design your questions and perform a test before applying the survey.
- Anticipate the lack of answers and the time needed to perform your data analysis.
- The design of your survey should be according to the information needs that you require to be measured.
- Avoid biases using clear and well-defined concepts in each question.
- Avoid long surveys, they can tire the respondent and make him leave the survey or he responds hastily and with errors.
- Within the survey design, you also find factors such as, if it is an online or field survey, a survey for a mobile application and the type of questions that will be asked, for example, multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions, scale-of-values, graphic classification, etc., the jumps of questions, the check boxes, in order.
- Pay attention to way you address the questions, both the order of the question’s options and the way they are written.
Apart from the above mentioned points, it is important to remember that when you ask survey questions based on past events and experience, you will have to rely and trust on the memory of the respondents. This is a single “assumed” variable in any survey that seeks to understand user behaviour through past experiences and events.
Who Conducts the Surveys?
The person who conducts a survey is usually called an interviewer or a pollster, whether they make a phone call, appear at the door of your house or at the mall to do their work. Those who attend a panel, or online panel, can also be called administrator.
Those who are responsible for performing this task, preferably should be open people, patients, who have the ability to approach strangers to engage in a conversation, and carry out the survey according to the instructions received.
These people are not those who bear the full responsibility of conducting a survey, there are also those who are dedicated to design it, determine the sample, write the questions, supervise the collection and analysis of the data and write the corresponding reports of the results obtained.
On the other hand, if you are conducting an online survey, all you have to do is create, send and automatically analyse the surveys from respondents. A market research analyst is typically the person who creates and send out these online surveys to be answered by respondents.
What treatment is given to the information obtained?
When you conduct a survey, you must have access to its analytics. While manual surveys based on pen and paper or excel sheets require additional man-power to be analysed through experience data analysts, it becomes much simpler when using an online survey platform. Here, analysis is done automatically because survey creation and distribution is done digitally as well.
Coming to the privacy aspect of data treatment, this might be a matter of concern for respondents who decide to participate in a survey. However, the privacy of the information collected is guaranteed or their authorization is requested to make use of it for research purposes. Do not forget that it is also a question of ethics, to give the best use to the data obtained and use them only for what is required.