The proliferation of internet survey tools is making it easier for researchers to gather data, but internet surveys also produce their own set of challenges. That was the message from Marketing Professor Linda Golden and IROM Professor Patrick Brockett at the Undergraduate Business Council's Faculty Research Golden said that in the future, students will all be using or directing surveys generated on the Internet. They are inexpensive, easy to set-up and very fast. But, she warned that it’s important to monitor for technology glitches.
For example, in an H1N1 survey that Golden and Brockett conducted, the multiple choice buttons weren’t working. They found out about the problem because participants added comments on the survey. They were able to pull the survey and fix the problem, but they had to start the survey over again.
Another common problem - results from Internet surveys may have a bias from professional survey takers who take multiple surveys for the money and care nothing about your survey. People are paid to take the surveys and some offers come with the chance to win large sums of money.
Brockett quoted Ronald Reagan’s signature phrase – “Trust, but verify.” It’s important to know you have qualified participants in your pool who are randomly selected, he said. Golden is currently working with an internet survey company to develop safeguards for reliability and accuracy for Internet surveys.