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Online Surveys vs. Paper Surveys

Donna Sacks Mar 11, 2010 4 Comments

Why choose online surveys over paper surveys? Consider these statistics:

  • Paper consumption has increased six-fold over the past 50 years
  • 75-85% of business documents are in paper form
  • 90% of a business' information is in documents, not databases
  • One tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets
  • The average US office worker uses over 10,000 sheets of printing and copying paper per year

Aside from online surveys being more eco-friendly, online surveys make the collection of data and the analysis process a more efficient and cost-effective process.

Advantages of Online Surveys

Some additional advantages of online surveys over paper include:

Cost: There are no paper, printing, postage, telephone or interviewer costs making online surveys less expensive than paper surveys

Speed: With online surveys instantaneous distribution of your survey and the real-time accumulation and tabulation of results allows for immediate survey data analysis saving you valuable time

Efficiency: Online surveys make it quick for you to facilitate repeat deployments of the same survey at any time in the future - very useful for trend analysis

Randomization: When answer options are re-arranged, skewed results due to respondents always clicking the first choice are avoided. Online surveys easily allow for randomization reducing order bias.

Use of Advanced Survey Logic: Online surveys allow Advanced Survey Logic to be used. These features prevents confusion and annoyance, and also provides quicker progression through the survey

Anonymity: When using an online survey tool you can offer survey respondents complete anonymity thereby increasing the chances of getting honest and frank input from respondents

More Thoughtful Responses: Since online surveys can be taken where and when the respondent chooses, allowing a respondent to save their survey and come back later provides them the opportunity for a more considered reply.

Use the Right Survey Format

Keep in mind paper surveys still remain valuable and should not to be discounted.

Both online and offline data collection results can be combined in the cases where paper surveys are necessary for some of the respondents.

The data from those who can be reached only via mail, in person, or by telephone can be manually entered so that all your survey results are reviewed and analyzed together.

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