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    Selected Summaries

    Couper, M. P. (2000). Web surveys: a review of issues and approaches. Public Opinion Quarterly, 64(4), 464-494.

    Excerpt: "The writer presents a review of the issues and approaches to Web surveys. He provides an overview of some of the types of Web surveys being implemented. He offers a typology of Web survey designs to facilitate the task of evaluating and improving Web surveys. He points out that the potential risk of Web surveys is that their proliferation will make it more difficult to distinguish the good from the bad. He concludes that research and open sharing of research methods and results are needed to ensure that people can exploit the possibilities of Web surveys in an informed and responsible way."
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    DeRouvray, C., & Couper, M. P. (2002). Designing a strategy for reducing ‘No Opinion’ responses in Web-based surveys. Social Science Computer Review SSCREH, 20(1), 3-9.

    Excerpt: "This article explores alternative designs for uncertain responses (ie, "don't know" or "no opinion" options) in a Web survey. In mail or other paper-based self-administered surveys, designers are forced to choose whether or not to provide an explicit uncertain response option. In interviewer-administered surveys, implicit uncertain responses are possible even when uncertain response options are not initially provided to a respondent; that is, when such a response is volunteered, it is accepted, often after an additional attempt to elicit a more definitive answer. Interactive Web-based surveys permit a design similar to interviewer-administered surveys. In an experiment, the authors examine several alternative design approaches to reducing the number of uncertain responses in a Web survey."
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    Hampton, K. N. (1999). Computer-assisted interviewing: The design and application of survey software to the wired suburb project. Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique BBMSE2, 62, 49-68.

    Excerpt: "Explores the use of Internet & personal computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) in the U of Toronto's (Ontario) Wired Suburb (Netville) Project. The use of CAI in this project differs from other examples in its use of social network questions, a time-use diary, & Internet (Web) & personal computer-based interviewing of a small residential population. The purpose is to (1) enhance understanding of why CAI, specifically computer-assisted personal interviewing & computerized self-administered interviewing may be more appropriate for some research projects than others, (2) explore specific problems with the technology & approach used in this study, & (3) explore specific challenges for the use of CAI in social network & time-use analysis."
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    Hansen, W. J., & Haas, C. (1988). Reading and writing with computers: A framework for explaining differences in performances, Communications of the ACM, 31(9), 1080-1089.

    Excerpt: "Reading from computer screens is increasingly important as a source of timely information. Writing with computers is increasingly popular for its rapidity and ease of revision. Since numerous studies have shown that reading and writing are distinctly different with computers and paper, it is now time to ask whether there is an overall explanation of the differences and why they occur. In this article we answer these questions by describing seven factors that influence reading and writing with computers: Page Size, Legibility, Responsiveness, Tangibility, Sense of Directness, Sense of Engagement, and Sense of Text. These factors are illustrated by showing how they can explain the results of a series of experiments we conducted."
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    Heerwegh, D., & Leuven K. U., (2002). Web surveys: The effect of controlling survey access using PIN numbers. Social Science Computer Review SSCREH, 20(1), 10-21.

    Excerpt: "Web surveys generally use some sort of access control to prevent uninvited respondents from taking part in the survey & to prevent multiple completions by the same (invited) respondent. Restriction of survey access can be accomplished in several technically equivalent ways. However, these methods may not be equivalent from a methodological viewpoint. In this article, an exploration of possible effects of access control mechanisms is undertaken. Two different modes of access control were experimentally manipulated. Five hundred respondents were assigned to the automatic login condition. Another 500 respondents were assigned to the manual login condition. It was expected that the automatic login procedure would generate higher response rates but a lower degree of data quality. The results show that using a manual login procedure does not decrease response rates, whereas it does increase the overall degree of data quality."
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    MacElroy, B. (1999, July). Comparing seven forms of online surveying. Quirk's Marketing Research Review. Retrieved December 2, 2002 from

    Excerpt: "This article will describe some of the common forms of both quantitative and qualitative on-line research being used for commercial applications and will discuss specific trade-offs between research design flexibility, degree of control, relative cost and speed."
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    Miles, G. E., Howes, A., & Davies, A. (2000). A framework for understanding human factors in web-based electronic commerce, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 52(1), 131-163.

    Excerpt: "The World Wide Web and email are used increasingly for purchasing and selling products. The use of the internet for these functions represents a significant departure from the standard range of information retrieval and communication tasks for which it has most often been used. Electronic commerce should not be assumed to be information retrieval, it is a separate task-domain, and the software systems that support it should be designed from the perspective of its goals and constraints. At present there are many different approaches to the problem of how to support seller and buyer goals using the internet. They range from standard, hierarchically arranged, hyperlink pages to "electronic sales assistants", and from text-based pages to 3D virtual environments. In this paper, we briefly introduce the electronic commerce task from the perspective of the buyer, and then review and analyse the technologies. A framework is then proposed to describe the design dimensions of electronic commerce. We illustrate how this framework may be used to generate additional, hypothetical technologies that may be worth further exploration. Copyright 2000 Academic Press"
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    Miller, E. T., Neal, D. J., Roberts, L. J., Baer, J. S., Cressler, S. O., Metrik, J., & Marlatt, G. A. (2002). Test-retest reliability of alcohol measures: Is there a difference between Internet-based assessment and traditional methods?. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, 56-63.

    Excerpt: "This study compared Web-based assessment techniques with traditional paper-based methods of commonly used measures of alcohol use. Test-retest reliabilities were obtained, and tests of validity were conducted. A total of 255 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: paper-based (P&P), Web-based (Web), or Web-based with interruption (Web-I). Follow-up assessments 1 week later indicated reliabilities ranging from .59 to .93 within all measures and across all assessment methods. Significantly high test-retest reliability coefficients support the use of these measures for research and clinical applications. Furthermore, no significant differences were found between assessment techniques, suggesting that Web-based methods are a suitable alternative to more traditional methods. This cost-efficient alternative has the advantage of minimizing data collection and entry errors while increasing survey accessibility."
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    Raziano, D. B., Jayadevappa, R., & Valenzula, D. (2001). E-mail versus conventional postal mail survey of geriatric chiefs. The Gerontologist, 41(6), 799-804.

    Excerpt: "This study compared the response time, response rate, and cost of two types of survey administration techniques: e-mail/web-based versus conventional postal mail. The main aim of the survey was to collect descriptive information on the existence of Acute Care for Elders units and their characteristics by surveying geriatric division chiefs. Design and Methods: Two randomized cohorts of geriatric division chiefs were formed to receive a survey either by electronic mail (n = 57) or by conventional postal mail (n = 57). If there was no response to the initial mailing, two follow-up mailings were sent to both groups using the original modality; a third follow-up was performed using the alternative modality. For each group, response rate and response time were calculated. The average total cost was computed and compared across two groups. Results: The aggregate response rate was 58% (n = 31) for the e-mail group versus 77% (n = 44) for the postal mail group. The overall average response time was shorter in the e-mail group, 18 days compared with 33 days for the conventional postal mailing group. The cost comparison showed that average cost was $7.70 for the e-mail group, compared to $10.50 per response for the conventional mail group. Implications: It appears that although the web-based technology is gaining popularity and leads to lower cost per response, the conventional postal method of surveying continues to deliver a better response rate among the geriatric medical division chiefs. The web-based approach holds promise given its lower costs and acceptable response rate combined with the shorter response time"
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    Schwarz, N. (1999). Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers. American Psychologist, 54(2), 93-105.

    Excerpt: "Self-reports of behaviors and attitudes are strongly influenced by features of the research instrument, including question wording, format, and context. Recent research has addressed the underlying cognitive and communicative processes, which are systematic and increasingly well understood. I review what has been learned, focusing on issues of question comprehension, behavioral frequency reports, and the emergence of context effects in attitude measurement. The accumulating knowledge about the processes underlying self-reports promises to improve questionnaire design and data quality."
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    Thong, J.Y. L., Hong, W., & Tam, K. (2000) Understanding user acceptance of digital libraries: what are the roles of interface characteristics, organizational context, and individual differences? International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 57(3), 215-242

    Excerpt: "Digital library research efforts originating from library and information scientists have focused on the technical development. While millions of dollars have been spent on building 'usable' digital libraries, previous research indicates that potential users may still not use them. This study contributes to understanding user acceptance of digital libraries by utilizing the technology acceptance model (TAM). Three system interface characteristics, three organizational context variables, and three individual differences are identified as critical external variables that have impact on adoption intention through perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of the digital library. Data was collected from 397 users of an award-winning digital library. The findings show that both perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use are determinants of user acceptance of digital libraries. In addition, interface characteristics and individual differences affect perceived ease of use, while organizational context influences both perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of digital libraries."
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    Yun, G. W., Yun, G., & Trumbo, C. W. (2000). Comparative response to a survey executed by post, e-mail, & web form. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 6(1).

    Excerpt: "Conducted an analysis of the characteristics of 3 survey response modes (post, e-mail, and Web site), using data from a survey of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), in which science writers' professional use of e-mail and the Web is evaluated. The results show a number of potentially important differences in the response characteristics of these 3 groups. Researchers using multi-mode survey techniques should keep in mind that subtle effects might be at play in their analyses. The authors do not, however, observe significant influences of survey mode in their substantive analyses. They conclude, at least in this case, that the differences detected in the response groups indicate that using multi-mode survey techniques improved the representativeness of the sample without biasing other results."
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