Computers, Tablets, and Smart Phones: The Truth About Web-based Surveys

Patrick Merle, Sherice Gearhart, Clay Craig, Matthew Vandyke, Mary Elizabeth Brooks, Mehrnaz Rahimi

Abstract


The exponential increase of smart phone, tablet, and laptop use placesthe topic of web-based surveys at the center of survey methodologydiscussions. As individuals now have a variety of options for takingonline surveys, researchers must understand who completes their surveysthrough which device as it may impact completion rates and data quality.The analysis of two national online surveys (n=487 and n=1,046) revealedthat individuals utilizing smart phones to complete the studies weresignificantly younger than those accessing surveys through computers,while only one study indicated a significant gender difference with femalesusing smart phones more than males. Additionally, data showed that therespondent’s level of education did not significantly differ by device usedto take the surveys.

 

The exponential increase of smart phone, tablet, and laptop use places

the topic of web-based surveys at the center of survey methodologydiscussions. As individuals now have a variety of options for takingonline surveys, researchers must understand who completes their surveysthrough which device as it may impact completion rates and data quality.The analysis of two national online surveys (n=487 and n=1,046) revealedthat individuals utilizing smart phones to complete the studies weresignificantly younger than those accessing surveys through computers,while only one study indicated a significant gender difference with femalesusing smart phones more than males. Additionally, data showed that therespondent’s level of education did not significantly differ by device usedto take the surveys.

Keywords


surveys;web-based surveys; mobile devices; national panels; smartphones; tablets

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