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Online and paper-based survey data: Are they equivalent?

Teo, T.ORCID: 0000-0002-7552-8497 (2013) Online and paper-based survey data: Are they equivalent? British Journal of Educational Technology, 44 (6). E196-E198.

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The use of online survey questionnaires for research has multiplied in tandem with the growth and advancement of the Internet (Dillman, 2000). Some reasons why researchers are drawn to online surveys are that they are lower in costs. This is done by eliminating the need to print and mail paper surveys and having the survey data returned in an electronic format (Sills & Song, 2002). Secondly, online survey allows for data to be collected within a short time frame and from respondents from diverse backgrounds and locations. Thirdly, a higher participation rate can be obtained by including pictures, colours and other elements in the online surveys that appeal to the target respondents (Lefever, Dal & Matthíasdóttir, 2007). Despite the benefits of using online surveys, there is no consensus among researchers that the online survey is better than the traditional method (paper based). For example, the use of online surveys presupposes access to the Internet and this excludes respondents who face telecommunications infrastructure and connection issues. This is particularly true among participant in the developing countries. In addition, there are security and data integrity issues caused by respondents who may pose as different people and those who have concerns about confidentiality. For this reason, many researchers who use online survey also rely on the paper‐based version. In so doing, it is important to determine if participants would respond in the same manner to online and paper‐based surveys. If people answer differently because the features on the Internet shape their responses, data quality will suffer and confidence in the validity of the results may be affected (Carini, Hayek, Kuh, Kennedy & Ouimet, 2003)...

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2013 British Educational Research Association
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