Vera Toepoel’s practical, how-to guide to doing surveys online takes you through the entire process of using surveys, from systematically recruiting respondents, to designing the internet survey, to processing the survey data and writing it up. This book helps students and researchers in identifying possible strategies to make the best use of online surveys, providing pro’s and con’s, and do’s and don’ts for each strategy. It also explores the latest opportunities and developments that have arisen in the field of online surveys, including using social networks, and provides expert guidance and examples of best practice throughout. Suitable for those starting a research project or conducting a survey in a professional capacity, this book is the ideal go-to reference for anyone using internet surveys, be it a beginner or a more experienced survey researcher.

Programming the Survey

INTRODUCTORY CASE: Education level

You are going to conduct an online survey. You want to ask people’s educational level. Which type of answer format do you use?

  • Radio buttons,
  • Checkboxes,
  • Dropdown menu,
  • Text box.

9.1 Introduction

Designing a survey is not as easy as it may seem, especially when a researcher has many tools available as is the case with online surveys. A researcher has to make all kinds of design choices such as using a scrolling or paging design, answer options, routing, empty answers, error messages, don’t know options, etc. This chapter discusses all these design choices and pretesting, which is important to determine the quality of the survey instrument.

9.2 Survey layout

Before going into detail about programming the online survey, I want to make a note ...

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