Limitations of Questionnaires and Web Experiments

Web-based surveys and questionnaires are a vital epidemiologic technique, providing important information on the condition of public health and diseases. They are a typical method of gathering data that is often less expensive and time-consuming than face-toface interviews, mailed questionnaires or automated menus for phones systems. Questionnaires and Web experiments are not without their limitations, which must be addressed in order to get reliable and valid results.

A questionnaire could be influenced by response bias, the tendency of respondents to answer questions based on their personal opinions rather than according to research goals. The design of a questionnaire may affect responses in a variety of ways. For instance, the wording of the question could influence whether respondents understand the question and interpret it in the same way (reliable) or whether the question is relevant to what you’re interested in (valid) and the ability of respondents to accurately answer (credible).

Respondents might also experience survey fatigue or lack of engagement with the questions that are asked and reduces the chance of them offering honest answers. Additionally, a lack of incentives or monetary compensation could discourage respondents from taking the time to complete a questionnaire.

Online questionnaires can also pose a challenge for some experimental designs for example, positioning or reaction time studies. It is challenging to measure and control variables across participants because of the different settings for browsers as well as operating systems and sizes of screens.

Finally, Web-based surveys are only available to those who have keyboards and are Internet knowledgeable, which currently isn’t a large portion of the population. It is also difficult for Web researchers debriefing participants after the experiment window has closed.