Thanks to the development of the Internet, many technologies are now used in the field of research—surveys in particular. If you are still using the paper questionnaire method to conduct surveys, here are 7 reasons why you should stop and move on to using online data collection tools.
1. It’s more coss-effective
With online survey tools, you don’t need to hire extra staff members for menial tasks such as data entry, re-checking questionnaires or preparing analytical reports. Due to geographical conditions and limitations, some survey projects can be very difficult and costly for data collectors to physically conduct. Modern survey tools like rtSurvey have built-in calling and recording functions for conducting surveys. These functions help interviewers with an Internet connection conduct interviews via calls. Thus, it saves money on travel when conducting the survey.
2. It’s more time-effective
When you use online survey software, the results will be updated immediately. When the interviewer or respondent finishes the survey and submits it, you won’t have to wait for someone else to obtain the results on paper, input them into an Excel sheet, and synthesize the data. Using technology to manage surveys will also help researchers minimize steps in the survey process. The data collection work that once had to be done manually can now be done by computers, such as calculating figures, posting notifications, sending surveys to interviewers, creating reports, etc.
3. It’s more accurate
Modern survey technology has the functions of setting up constraints and conditions for collecting data (quality assurance rules and constraints) to limit errors when receiving information. For example, if the data entered differs from the prescribed data format, the system that contains the survey will automatically detect the accuracy of the data, and the interviewer will receive a notification to review the answers given. The traditional questionnaire method does not have this quality assurance capability.
4. It’s easier to alalyze
When using survey software, the data will be collected more systematically and intuitively in order to help researchers easily analyze and report the data. They also usually provide pre-designed survey and report templates for easy use by researchers who don’t need in-depth analysis. With only a few simple steps, the researcher can produce general overview reports to follow the survey progress and preliminary results.
5. It’s easier to revise
If surveys were conducted using paper questionnaires, the researcher can only design the questionnaire once, and would not be able to change any questions or collect new information systematically while conducting the survey. But with online survey tools, the content of the questionnaire can be changed at any time. rtSurvey in particular allows users to edit and store different versions of the questionnaire as well as the corresponding data, with the (new and old) data still aggregated into the main dataset. rtSurvey also allows survey administrators to send updated versions of the survey to researchers with just a few clicks in the system.
6. It’s easier to present & collect information in different formats
With paper questionnaires, you can only collect information in text (written) form. But with survey software, researchers can collect information in a wide variety of formats, such as numbers, emails, dates, images, sounds, links, videos, etc. Collecting various types of information will help to strengthen the quality of the survey results and analyses.
7. It’s easier to conduct large-scale surveys
When conducting surveys with paper questionnaires, the quantity and size of surveys depend heavily on human resources, especially the number of interviewers or enumerators on hand. Online survey tools solve this problem in two ways. First, it’s possible to conduct a survey without an interviewer or enumerator by sending a link or QR code that leads to an online survey form to respondents who will then fill it out themselves. Second, when provided with proper equipment, such as tablets and smartphones, online surveys can be optimized so that interviewers can conduct more surveys in the same amount of time as it would take when using paper questionnaires.
Whether you are conducting a small- or large-scale survey, using online survey tools can greatly benefit you in the long run. It may take a while to familiarize yourself with these tools, but it’s worth investing your time and energy into teaching yourself to use technology and make it work for you.