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Comparison of paper & electronic surveys

  Paper (Group setting) Electronic
Strengths
  • High response rate, if administered in class.
  • Allows for a variety of questions.
  • Respondents can easily modify responses.
  • Usually less expensive than making paper duplicates of the survey.
  • Research has shown more candid responses with electronic surveys than with paper surveys (those with open ended questions).
  • Time spent on data entry and analysis is reduced.
  • Quicker results.
Weaknesses
  • Usually requires a time slot common to all respondents.
  • Being in a group setting, respondents may feel uncomfortable providing honest answers to particular questions.
  • Unless conducted in a group setting, computer access can be restrictive for some of the intended respondents.
  • More difficult to guarantee anonymity.
  • Requires the technical ability to format the survey and related database.
  • Additional instruction/orientation may be necessary before respondents are able to complete the survey.
  • Electronic surveys are more likely to experience “glitches” than written surveys.
  • Respondents cannot easily modify their responses once submitted.

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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