Web Surveys. Revolutionising the Survey Industry or (Only) Enriching its Spectrum?

Self-selected surveys on the Web are extremely cost-attractive, however, they lack a valid statistical inference.

Web Surveys: Revolutionising the Survey Industry or (only) Enriching its Spectrum?

Zenel Batagelj CATI Center and Vasja Vehovar University of Ljubljana,  Slovenia.


By the term Web surveys we understand self administrated questionna

. The introductory block of questions dealt with Internet usage (frequency, content, and structure) and standard sociodemographic questions. The propensity to cooperate in a Web survey was also measured, as well as the knowledge of English language and computer orientation. In total there were 6,500 individuals who completed this block of questions, and we treat them as respondents. . The basic module was followed with five blocks of questions regarding Website visits. Each block comprised approximately twenty Web pages and was randomly assigned to the respondents. We should add that the Slovenian Web users do behave globally: Yahoo and Alta Vista are the top visited sites. . Ten substantial modules were randomly assigned to the respondents. The topics were as follows: Internet usage, computers and telecommunications, leisure activities, Internet software, politics, critical Internet issues and attitudes, electronic commerce, advertising, traditional media, pharmacy. . After the compulsory modules 60% of the respondents had the option of additionally self-selecting some (or all) of the remaining modules. The remaining 40% of respondents answered to only one compulsory (but randomly assigned) module. Three modules were added to the existing ten modules: pop culture (music and film), erotic and cost issues in Internet usage. The additional selection of modules (ten less one plus three equals twelve) was thus available as a self selected option for part of the respondents. There were 30% of respondents with this option who actually selected at least one additional block, and there were twenty five persons (out of 6,500) who even managed to answer all twelve additional modules. On average, 1.7 blocks were selected per respondent in addition to the compulsory block of questions that was initially selected, so the overall average was 2.7 blocks per respondents. Conditionally, this can be compared to the recent GVU surveys where respondents on average selected 2.6 modules which increased to 4.6 following the introduction of a US$ 250 cash award for randomly selected respondents. The modules that attracted the most self selected responses in the RIS survey were erotic, computers, and Internet software (). The homogeneity of the respondents selecting different modules was surprisingly high, and consequently the module related differences were extremely small. Male respondents, loyal respondents (those who participated in previous RIS surveys) and more frequent Internet users were selecting additional modules to a greater extent. . All respondents were given the evaluation block. The questions were related to satisfaction with the length, speed, layout and the content of the survey. Overall satisfaction was also measured, as well as future cooperation. In addition, there was an open ended question for further comments. About 1,400 respondents (out of 3,600 who completed the entire questionnaire) added some comments.

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