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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Benefits and Burdens of Web-based Data Collection among College Students
Year 2004
Access date 14.06.2004

This paper reports on key lessons learned from a web-based data collection methodology used to study alcohol use behavior among college students. The methodology included several steps starting with postcard pre-notifications sent to the campus address of the students in the sample, as well as a poster media campaign initiated on campuses to encourage students to check for information about the survey. The pre-notification postcards and the posters included information about the incentive offered for completing the questionnaire. The e-mail was sent after the pre-notifications had been sent out and the posters were posted. The email included instructions for completing the survey. This paper discusses the key issues and challenges associated with this methodology. The first challenge with using web-based data collection is programming a survey designed as a paper and pencil questionnaire. Many “intuitive” things that are true for the formatting and structuring a paper questionnaire needed to be re-thought for the web-based environment. The second challenge was related to obtaining a high and consistent response rate. The average response rate of nine colleges across all school year classifications was 28.1% with a range of 45.5% to 10.2%. The variance in the response rate could be considered as functions of recency, persistence, access, and school size (or initial sample size from which to draw). Respondents with easy access were likely to respond within 24 hours of the receipt of the initial e-mail. Those without easy access took much longer to respond. In such cases, persistence was essential to increase response rates. Three or four reminders were sent to increase response rates in low-response rate sub-samples. Other challenges included processing the incentives for the respondents in a timely manner. The goal of this paper is to expand on the methodology and demonstrate the benefits and burdens of web-based data collection.

Year of publication2004
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations