Improving representativeness in online surveys using a combined internet/postal approach: evidence from a UK-wide survey of consumers.
Harris, Ainslie J.
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ATOROUGH, P., DONALDSON, B. and HARRIS, A., 2011. Improving representativeness in online surveys using a combined internet/postal approach: evidence from a UK-wide survey of consumers. In: Advances in Business-Related Scientific Research Conference. June 1 -2 2011. Slovenia: Edukator.
The Internet is fast gaining popularity as a medium for undertaking various forms of research, particularly research of a quantitative and survey nature. While the benefits of undertaking such research are numerous and have been recognised in many empirical projects, it has become clear that a major drawback of Internet research is the inability of researchers to achieve representative samples drawn from well-informed scientific sampling techniques. As a result, a review of studies using Internet sample recruitment techniques reveals a predominant bias towards convenience samples, with the attendant weakening of conclusions therein. In this paper, we discuss a survey sampling approach used by the researchers to recruit samples that improved representativeness and at the same time reduced systematic non-response bias. This paper will be of Interest to those considering using Internet based surveys, especially if they are concerned about the generalisability of their results to include wider and non-Internet-based populations. While the approach used herein is not entirely new to the research methods community, our findings provide further proof that a combined online and off-line method toward Internet sampling is more robust and useful for reaching strong, reliable conclusions.