Primary Data Collection
be downloaded to the respondent’s computer for completion and then either mailed or
electronically sent to the researcher. Of course differences in monitor screen size, com-
puter clock speed, use of full or partial screen for viewing questionnaire, use of broadband
versus telephone transmission lines, and other variables will result in different presenta-
tions of the questionnaire for different viewers. Also, computer navigation skills still vary
widely across the population and must be taken into account when designing a Web-based
survey. Designing Internet surveys adds another set of challenges to the researcher us-
ing questionnaires to collect data, and those researchers interested in using this medium
should consult one of the recent publications addressing this topic (see, for example, Don
Mail and Internet Surveys
, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2000, pp. 361–401).
Some of the movement toward the use of the Internet for survey research is due to the
increasing number of people with access to and amount of time devoted to being on the
Web. Set-up time can be as fast or faster than CATI, with faster survey execution (often
the targeted number of completed surveys can be reached in a few days). Also, the ability
of the respondent to choose the time for completing the survey gives it an advantage over
personal or telephone interviewing.
Not everything about the use of the Internet for survey research is positive, however.
At present one of the issues of greatest concern is the degree to which respondents to
Internet surveys are representative of a target population. If the survey is meant to be
projectable to a population with a high percentage of access to and usage of the Internet
(such as university faculty, businesses, groups of professionals, purchasers of computer
equipment), then this issue is of less concern. But when the survey is meant to be pro-