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Differences Between Online and Phone Survey Results

Studies have found that compared with the general population, Internet users have higher levels of education and are more affluent. The application of demographic weighting to both sets of data does serve to close the gap between online and face-to-face results.

However, when comparing parallel online and telephone surveys, we have seen some other differences.

These differences appear to be method effects or mode effects rather than sampling effects.

One effect is related to the respondents’ reading questions rather than hearing them. This influences responses to scales and how many people give “not sure” or “don’t know” as an answer.

Interviewer effects can have a substantial impact on survey data especially where respondents are likely to be queried about racial attitudes, sensitive behaviors and other topics prone to socially desirable responding (i.e. the tendency of respondents to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others.)

Hence, you will find a higher number of ‘Don’t know’ and ‘Neither/not sure’ responses in online surveys. This creates problems when you convert tracking surveys to online. One solution is conducting several parallel phone and online surveys to better understand how the change in methodologies will impact your results. This will give you the foundation to totally migrate your tracker to online.

For more advice on how to convert your survey from phone to online, contact us today.