Limitations of Questionnaires and Web Experiments

Web-based experiments and questionnaires are vital methods for analyzing epidemiology and provide vital information on public health and disease. These are the most common methods for collecting data. They are usually more affordable and efficient than face-to-face meetings, mailed questionnaires, or automated phone menu systems. Questionnaires and Web tests are not without limitations, and these must be addressed in order to get reliable and valid results.

A questionnaire can be influenced by response bias, which is the tendency of respondents to answer questions according to their opinions rather than the research goals. The design of a questionnaire can affect responses in a variety of ways. For instance the wording of the question could influence whether respondents understand the question and interpret it in the same manner (reliable) and whether the question measures the subject you are interested in (valid) and if they are able to accurately answer (credible).

A lack of enthusiasm or engagement with the questions could make respondents less likely to give honest responses. In addition, the absence of incentives or monetary compensation could discourage participants from taking the time to complete an application.

Online questionnaires can also pose a challenge for certain experimental designs such as studies of response time or positioning. The wide range of settings for browsers as well as screen sizes and operating systems makes it difficult to control and measure the same variables across different participants.

Additionally, surveys conducted on the Web are only available to people who have keyboards and are Internet knowledgeable, which currently excludes a significant percentage of the population. In addition, it is generally difficult for Web researchers to explain the results of their research after an experiment’s end.