Internet-based surveys, although still in their infancy, are becomingincreasingly popular because they are believed to be faster, better,cheaper, and easier to conduct than surveys using more-traditional telephoneor mail methods. Based on evidence in the literature and real-life casestudies, this book examines the validity of those claims. The authorsdiscuss the advantages and disadvantages of using e-mail and the Web toconduct research surveys, and also offer practical suggestions for designingand implementing Internet surveys most effectively.Among other findings, the authors determined that Internet surveys may bepreferable to mail or telephone surveys when a list of e-mail addresses forthe target population is available, thus eliminating the need for mail orphone invitations to potential respondents. Internet surveys also arewell-suited for larger survey efforts and for some target populations thatare difficult to reach by traditional survey methods. Web surveys areconducted more quickly than mail or phone surveys when respondents arecontacted initially by e-mail, as is often the case when a representativepanel of respondents has been assembled in advance. And, although surveysincur virtually no coding or data-entry costs because the data are capturedelectronically, the labor costs for design and programming can be high.
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Low-cost personal computers and the explosive growth of theInternet over the past decade have introduced new methods of con-ductingresearch surveys. It is now possible to conduct an entire sur-veysolely through the World Wide Web or by e-mail. But, just asissues were raised about phone and mail surveys when they werefirst introduced, many researchers and practitioners are trying todetermine the best way to conduct Internet surveys and questioningjust how scientifically valid Internet-based surveys are.This book provides practical information for researchers who arecontemplating using the Internet in their survey activities. The au-thorsexamine the reported strengths and limitations of using theInternet to conduct research surveys and offer guidelines on surveydesign and implementation. This book should be of interest to socialscience and public policy researchers, although it is certainly appli-cableto any form of survey research, including that conductedwithin the Department of Defense and throughout the armed forces.It should also prove useful to principal investigators, surveycoordinators, and survey programmers.This study was conducted by RAND as part of its continuing programof self-sponsored research. Support was provided through the inde-pendentresearch and development provisions of RAND's contractsfor the operation of its Department of Defense federally funded re-searchand development centers: Project AIR FORCE (sponsored bythe U.S. Air Force), the Arroyo Center (sponsored by the U.S. Army),and the National Defense Research Institute (sponsored by the Officeof the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands,and the defense agencies). The RAND Statistics Group also providedadditional funding for this research.About the Author:
Ronald D. Fricker, Jr is an Associate Professor of Operations Research and the Associate Chair for Research at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Prior to joining NPS, Dr Fricker was a Senior Statistician at the RAND Corporation and the Associate Director of the National Security Research Division. Published widely in leading professional journals, he is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, and a former chair of the ASA Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security. He is a contributing editor to Interfaces and is on the editorial boards of Statistics, Politics, and Policy and the International Journal of Quality Engineering and Technology. Fricker's current research is focused on studying the performance of various statistical methods for use in biosurveillance, particularly syndromic surveillance, and statistical process control methodologies more generally.
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