Disadvantages of Online Surveys

Data collection is one of the most time-consuming processes in academic research. Without collecting the most appropriate data, researchers cannot achieve their research goals. The data can be collected in almost a dozen of different ways. You can use experiments, questionnaires, surveys, interviews, and observations to collect data. There is no hard and fast rule for selecting the right method of data collection. Instead, you can choose any method that best matches with your research goals. Among all, online survey is a fascinating method of data collection for students. The most probable reason for this is that it is easy to construct and inexpensive methods to collect data from participants. Moreover, it helps researchers to collect data from participants living millions of miles away. There are many advantages of using online surveys in research, but this article will primarily discuss its disadvantages in detail.

Online Surveys – A Brief Introduction:

Online surveys are also known as internet surveys. They are the most popular type of data collection ways where structured lists of survey questions are formally sent to the target audience via the internet. You can use a number of mediums to send these surveys, such as email, social media posts, and embedded surveys over the website. The characteristics of such surveys include six essentials:

  • The clear purpose of surveys
  • Appropriate research design
  • Well-structured questions
  • Clearly defined target sample
  • Analysis of audience feedback
  • Honesty in reporting survey responses 

These are important things that you must include in online surveys. Maximum reach out with minimum efforts, access to accurate feedback and AI-powered data analysis are among the most appealing features of online surveys. However, students are not advised to select any research or data collection method without getting dissertation proposal help. Most of the students select surveys by seeing the advantages. However, to make an informed decision, you must need to see both sides of a picture. Thus, the following are some important disadvantages of using online surveys as a method of data collection that you must review for making the right decision:

Inability To Collect Data From People Living In Less Developing Areas 

Online surveys can give the best results only if all participants that you want to reach have an internet facility. Thus, the people from the less developed areas often do not have internet, and the resulted data collection fails to consider representatives of a certain area.

People Often Do Not Take Them Seriously

Have you ever seen a survey while streaming videos on YouTube? How many times have you responded to any of these surveys? Most probably, the majority of us prefer to press the ‘skip option present in the extreme left corner. Thus, the biggest disadvantage of online surveys is that people often do not take them seriously.   

Sampling Of Population Becomes Difficult 

Sampling is relatively easy if you make a survey and send it to respondents via email and WhatsApp. In both cases, you can select the best representatives of a population. However, in online surveys that pop up on our laptops and mobile screens, sampling becomes really difficult in most of the cases.     

Surveyors Cannot Measure The Level Of Biasness

In online surveys, to know how accurately participants participated in a survey or to measure the level of biasness is a bit difficult. Thus, the online surveyors often remain doubtful about the reliability and accuracy of the data. 

A Mentally Disabled Person Can Also Participate In The Embedded Website Surveys

One of the most important things that researchers must consider while conducting a survey is the mental state of respondents. In face-to-face interviews and other surveys, the active involvement of the surveyor is the best method to know the mental state of respondents, which is a limitation of the online survey. 

A Large Number Of Unanswered Questions Create Data Analysis Problems

The majority of the people fail to manage time for solving a survey that they receive through the internet. It may raise a number of unanswered questions in respondents’ minds. Unclear mind cause irritation; thus, data analysis through partially or incomplete surveys is a big problem for researchers.

A Large Number Of Outliers Are Detected In The Analysis Steps

Lack of uniformity is often witnessed in online surveys. Thus, the variation in the trend of the survey is the leading cause of producing outliers in the data analysis process.

Difficult To Judge Emotions And Sentiments Of Respondents

Internet surveys are good for finding the views of the people about a particular product. However, in studies where you need to extract information by not taking into account the emotions and sentiments of respondents, a face-to-face interview is a more suitable method of data collection.

The Inadequate Practice Of Research Ethics In Social Media Surveys

Research ethics such as informed consent, confidentiality and participant willingness are among the core principles of conducting academic research involving living participants. By using internet surveys, especially social media surveys, researchers fail to establish a direct connection with the respondent and inadequate practice of research ethics is often observed.

Collect Data Only From A Particular Type Of Social Media Or Internet Users

It is the platform, marketing page or the content of a video that determines its audience. Factually, the niche of the content determines its audience. So if you use a social media page to reach the participants, then you will reach out to only a particular type of respondent. Thus, the results of such studies will be biased to some extent. 

Final Thoughts:

Online or internet surveys are common as it facilitates students in many ways. On one hand, it removes cultural, geographical and other constraints that affect researchers the most. On the other hand, other researchers can challenge the reliability and credibility of the data collected through internet surveys. This article discussed the ten most prominent disadvantages of using internet surveys. Students must keep in mind these cons if they really want to use the online mode of data collection through the internet for their research.

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