THE VALUE OF PRINTED SURVEY INSTRUMENTS
Printed surveys have been used since the earliest days of marketing research, often mailed, sometimes distributed personally at business, retail or other locations.They often remain the simplest, least expensive approach for small, one-time surveys.
Mail surveys are being replaced by electronic data entry, either through CATI (computer aided telephone interviewing by researchers, by letting respondents complete their own surveys online, or through newer handheld technology.
However, despite software, hardware and network advances, printed surveys are still used by many interviewers conducting mall-based, door-to-door or telephone interviews. Data entry from these instruments is either entered manually or pre-formatted for scanner entry.
STATISTICAL VALIDITY CONCERNS
Be careful if your goal is to obtain statistically valid results from your survey. Reading, completing and return mailing a printed survey requires much more time, focus and commitment than answering a telephone survey, so respondents are likely to self-select based on their interests.
For example, responses to a survey about football will likely be returned almost exclusively by football fans. This implies that random respondent sampling is less likely and raises concerns about statistical validity of results if you try to project mail survey results into the entire marketplace.
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Copyright VanAmburg Group, Inc.
Updated November 4, 2008
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