Online Panel Surveys

Online surveys offer the researcher the ability to use audio and video tools not available for audio-only telephone surveys and tend to generate greater respondent compliance than is found with the traditional telephonic survey. In addition to standard survey questions, participants can be shown TV advertisements, presented with product pictures and, in general, exposed to a variety of stimuli not accessible by audio-only telephone surveys. Participants seated at their computer also tend to be more patient than those contacted by phone, making longer, more in-depth surveys possible.

Sampling for online surveys is usually done using online panels – groups of people who express interest in survey participation and who frequently receive incentives to participate from the panel provider. The self-selected nature of the online sample does create some problems from a scientific sampling perspective. However, panel providers can draw their samples in such a way as to be demographically representative of the population being studied – a fact which helps mitigate these problems considerably.