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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Web survey software
Year 2011
Access date 30.11.2012

In contemporary social sciences the survey research processes – from conceptualization and empirical implementation to analysis and dissemination – are increasingly supported with information-communication technologies.  However, only parts of this process have fully shifted online so far. In practice, this is true for questionnaire design, distribution and data collection, while earlier stages (questionnaire development and testing) are not fully integrated yet. Similarly, the research literature mostly focuses on questionnaire design and data entry phase with considerable research also on distribution, publication, solicitation and collection. On the other hand, there is almost no literature regarding the role of the web in construction, pretesting and piloting of the instrument. In practice, this step is thus predominantly conducted offline (using word processors), while limited support for online commenting is sometimes included at a rather late stage of questionnaire development.
In this paper, the issues of full web integration of the survey process are discussed. First, a brief overview is presented about past research of the authors in the area of web software. Next, requirements for web survey software are identified according to the needs for effective support in questionnaire construction and testing stage (e.g. inline editing, extensive drag and drop, structuring, commenting, copying, versioning, archiving …).
Finally, results of an experiment are presented, where four groups of users were developing questionnaires in alternative ways:
1.      Fully online supported development process (no emailing, no word processors), using a specific web survey software, which was as a pilot developed for this task;
2.      Standard approach, where questionnaire is first drafted within some word processor (e.g. MS Word) and then exchanged, discussed and versioned via usual channels (e.g. e-mail, web sites, on-line platforms, forums) or via some external tools (e.g. SharePoint, DropBox, GoogleDoc).
The results show that the questionnaire development process, which is fully online assisted from the very beginning (2), is much faster and it is also much better evaluated by participants than alternative (1). Although such results were of course expected, the vast difference is surprising. Thus, the results definitely identify an area where more research attention is needed, particularly because it is related to the crucial step of the survey process, which is somehow much more important than series of well elaborated methodological issues with relatively minor effects on the survey process.

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Year of publication2011
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityAvailable on request

Web survey bibliography - Vehovar, V. (46)