Survey Tools For Different Data Collection Methods
There are several basic questionnaire data collection methods. The most popular today is online, with questions presented on a Web page. A much less frequent variation is to have questions presented in an email. Some very simple surveys use text messages. The gold standard in survey research is telephone interviewing. Another option is in-person interviewing. Yet another is to have the questions presented at a kiosk. And finally the last method is the traditional mail survey.
The best method to choose for a particular project will depend on the nature of your questions, how many you need to ask and which people you need to contact. The worst way to pick a method is to be limited by your survey tool.
If you need to get reactions to images, you cannot use telephone interviewing or text messages. If you need to get reactions to video, you cannot use telephone, text or mail. If you want to learn the opinions of people who have been to an amusement park or other venue, the most efficient way to contact them may be in person at the location. In-person interviews may also be the most practical way to reach people in rural areas of the Third World. One of the first uses of The Survey System’s Mobile Module was to interview tsunami survivors in Indonesia and Thailand.
Another consideration is how fast you need your answers. A Web page survey can get the answers from thousands of people in a single day. Telephone interviewing would take longer, and mail questionnaires would take the longest.
If you always do just a single kind of project, then you may be able to get by with a survey tool that only offers one form of data collection. Many people use simple online programs that can’t collect data any other way. Research professionals usually need the flexibility to pick the best data collection method for a particular project. These professionals need a flexible tool that can handle many, if not all data collection methods.
The Survey System can collect data using any of those methods, except text messages. You can then tell the program to create Web page, email, telephone, mobile and mail questionnaires as needed. Our software is particularly well-suited to mixed mode surveys, in which more than one data collection method is used for a single project. You only have to enter your questions and answer choices once. You can combine the data collected in these different modes with just a few mouse clicks.