Online data collection provides the lowest cost survey design , and hence offers the most cost effective way to survey large geographically dispersed populations.
Online data collection is also an asynchronous survey method, meaning potential participants are able to complete the survey questionnaire at their leisure rather than
needing to coordinate with an interviewer about a mutually convenient time. Finally, new generation online surveying tools mean that the barriers to participation are minimal.
E-mail surveys share the advantages of all self-completed questionnaire designs. In particular:
- E-mail surveys are an efficient use of researcher time;
- The asynchronous nature of the data collection lowers the risk of initial refusal; and
- It is possible to provide reference material with the questionnaire, increasing the complexity of the topics the survey can address.
When Research First conducts online surveys, it generates a dedicated survey database and invites members to participate via e-mails. An appropriate incentive will be offered for participation, encouraging broad-ranging use of the site by members, nationally.