Hofstra Professors Joel Evans and Anil Mathur just published a follow-up to their classic 2005 article on “The Value of Online Surveys.”
This is the premise of the new article in Internet Research:
“Internet-based research has come of age. About 13 years ago, when “The value of online surveys” was published in Internet Research (Evans and Mathur, 2005), online surveys were not yet well respected. Although now popular, SurveyMonkey (founded in 1999) and Qualtrics (founded in 2002), had not attained any real sophistication or critical mass as of 2005. Thus, they and other newer online survey methodologies were not even discussed in the earlier article. Things have certainly changed since 2005—with the rapid growth of online survey research and advances in technology, including the Internet of Things.
The 2005 article focused on the value of doing online surveys as compared with other modalities. It included the strengths and potential weaknesses of online surveys, aspects of respondent methodology for online surveys (as well as mail surveys), how to address the potential weaknesses of online surveys and a directory of online survey services.
In this paper, the focus is on the evolution of online survey research from 2005 to the present, as well as a look at what is ahead for survey research. Online surveys not only continue to grow in popularity and to mature as a research technique, but new technologies have also changed survey methodologies—and possibilities. While earlier research and interest as to online surveys were driven by the potential benefits of doing research online, the growth of online surveys has further brought to the forefront some limitations and pitfalls of doing surveys online.
In view of its continuing growth, potential for future growth and issues that could negatively affect online survey growth, it is important to examine online survey research’s current and future usefulness to researchers and practitioners. The objectives of this paper are to look at what has changed since the 2005 article, to examine evolving trends and to see where they are heading. Extensive conclusions and guidelines are then presented as to the future role of survey research, developing and implementing survey methodologies, and a code of ethics for survey research.
Here is a key chart from the new article.