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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Can Embedded Help Text Links in Web Survey Items Improve Data Quality?
Year 2013
Access date 30.05.2013

Self-administered surveys often include text that is separate from survey items and serves to provide respondents with standardized definitions and clarifications for nuanced items. For Web-based surveys, this information can be presented in a variety of formats, including “Help” buttons leading to external Websites or popup windows. More information is needed to evaluate the extent to which these various formats for accessing help text actually encourage its use and whether the use of help text has any effect on the responses provided. Embedded help text links were evaluated in two large postsecondary surveys. Help text in these surveys has historically been accessible via a “Help” button on each survey form, and has generally exhibited very low usage rates among self-administered respondents (typically about one percent). To make the help text feature more salient for self-administered respondents, key words were hyperlinked so that respondents could click on the linked words and access the help text for that form, just as if they had clicked the “Help” button. The content was the same regardless of how help text was accessed. The embedded help text links were used only on selected survey items, while all forms displayed the “Help” button at the bottom of the form. Preliminary results show the use of help text increased significantly on screens with embedded links versus screens with only the separate “Help” button. Implications for survey timing and response distributions will be discussed. Study findings indicate that the way in which help text is presented has implications for Web survey administration and data quality.

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Conference Homepage (abstract)

Year of publication2013
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations