Due to cheaper price, more design flexibleness, and a faster cycle time, electronic surveys are being employed by a rising number of corporations. Whether they are used to gauge customer satisfaction or to determine the reasons behind a high shopping cart desertion rate, web questionnaires have mostly replaced their paper opposite numbers. With that noted, it’s worth exploring the differences between the 2 options.
In this article, we’ll have a look at 4 key areas in which paper surveys differ from those distributed online . We’ll inspect usability, time needed to receive results, question design, and bias. Each can influence the validity of your information and by extension, the success of your questionnaires.
Monitor Vs Print: Aesthetics And Usability
Consider how a revealed page appears in comparison to words shown on a P. C. monitor. The resolution is much higher, that means letters and numbers are crisper. That also means you can put more content ( i.e. Questions, possible responses, etc. ) on a single page than you can on a monitor.
Another factor to consider is that a piece of paper is uniform in appearance. That is, the questions are viewed in the same font by every person in your population. That is not the case with a computer screen. Not only are respondents using screens that are sized differently, but they can control the font. If your web survey is limited to multiple choice questions, this will have little to no impact. On the other hand, matrix questions could cause a left-to-right scrolling issue. That can influence your reply and desertion rate.
Lower Price, Less Time
Online questionnaires cost less to execute than their paper equivalents. While the speedy savings are crucial, there’s a more important side-product of this cost potency. Because released surveys cost more to print and distribute, firms that use them are inclined to make them as complete as possible . The planning of a poll then becomes a matter of determining how many questions will be put up with by participators.
This is useless because each additional question runs the risk of raising the survey’s desertion rate. Finding an OK balance begins to take a higher concern than the information.
Likewise, there’s a shorter cycle time with web questionnaires in which replies are returned. Results frequently begin flowing in inside mins. Against this, a paper survey might require a few weeks to draw in the majority of the replies.
Flexibility In Question Design
Paper questionnaires offer limited options with respect to the look of your questions. Multiple choice questions, rating scales, and short answer items are simple enough to include. However , you won’t be ready to use drop-down menus. Nor will you be ready to leverage pipe, branch, and skip logic.
Internet surveys provide much more flexibility in design control. Not only are you able to use sophisticated logic to form a more continuous experience for respondents, but you may take advantage of reporting tools to organize your results.
Spotting Potential Bias
Each sort of test poses certain biases ; some are exclusive to the instrument. As an example, consider phone surveys. The interviewer’s tone can affect the replies given as well as the desertion rate. On the other hand, a made public test carries a bias toward literacy and comprehension. Web questionnaires bias the project toward people who have online access and know how to use a computer.
In each case, the seriousness of the bias that accompanies a stated instrument may be high or low, depending on the researcher’s objective . For example, an online survey that polls internet site visitors about their ISP introduces 0 bias since every respondent has access to the Net. On the other hand, a web questionnaire that asks respondents about medical care legislation introduces an important bias. Limiting respondents to those with online access can potentially skew the information.
To be sure, paper-based questionnaires continue to supply worth in certain circumstances even as online surveys become commoner. The key is to know which instrument is most suitable given your goal, budget, and population.