Conducting Research Surveys Via E-Mail and the Web

By Matthias Schonlau; Ronald D. Fricker Jr. et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Seven
CONCLUSIONS

In this chapter, we offer some concluding thoughts on the future of Internet-based surveys, the issues surrounding the use of e-mail and the Web for research surveys, and certain assumptions concerning performance—that is, are Internet surveys faster, better, cheaper, or easier to conduct than surveys that use more-traditional methods? We also explore a few questions that remain unanswered about Internet surveys.


THE FUTURE OF INTERNET-BASED SURVEY METHODS

Internet surveys are here to stay and will become even more commonplace, with Web surveys continuing to dominate over e-mail surveys. Although some experts predict that Web surveys will eventually replace other survey modes altogether, we anticipate that Web surveys will develop into a distinct response mode, with its advantages and disadvantages, which will have to be weighed against more-conventional alternatives.

A major challenge for researchers will be how to distinguish themselves and their surveys from the plethora of commercial and entertainment surveys on the Web. Commercial surveys will proliferate in even greater numbers because the financial and technical entry barriers to the Web are so low. Thus, just as telephone survey response rates have declined because of the flood of telemarketing and commercial surveys, it is likely to become increasingly difficult to achieve superior response rates when using this medium for research.

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