The face-to-face survey method proves to be the best for open-ended questions when lengthy, detailed responses are needed. Blair et al. (70) assert that the methodology provides a relaxed tempo and atmosphere than a telephone survey. This makes it possible for the investigator to ask for additional information. The respondents are also not likely to feel uncomfortable when experiencing long pauses amid face-to-face interview because they see what the interviewer does.
The mail survey method is the most appropriate for collecting data on sensitive issues. The methodology involving the sending of a brief letter to the respondent before a more detailed cover letter and questionnaire is the most appropriate approach for gathering data on sensitive topics because the respondent is alone when answering the questions ( Blair et al. 53). The methodology may provide valuable information on sensitive issues such as bankruptcy, medical problems, a conviction for drunk driving, and other embarrassing matters. Its anonymous nature makes it suitable for collecting data on confidential matters data (Blair et al. 53). However, it may not be effective for collecting data on private issues since many sensitive problems are not reported.
From the reading, it is evident that the internet survey has the most issues with sampling frame bias. Blair et al. (55) state that one of the major problems with this methodology is the lack of a specific frame for sampling the persons who use the Internet. Even though it may be easy to get the entire list of postal addresses, it is difficult to do the same with e-mail addresses. The inability to acquire a complete frame for the whole population surveys via the Internet mostly involves samples of particular groups, such as industrial buyers who have e-mail addresses (Blair et al. 56). An alternative form to acquire data using the internet survey method, considering the high sampling frame bias with this technique is to engage respondents who have recorded their e-mail addresses and demographic data with online platforms that are under the management of international research firms.
The internet survey method also emerges as the data collection technique with the lowest response rate. Blair et al. mention that, “Low rates of response and the resulting likelihood of non-response bias are some of the major demerits of internet surveys (60).” The authors further state that although information from internet surveys is limited, it seems the rate of response is relatively lower than for mail surveys. The low response rate that is a characteristic of internet surveys reduces the sample, and as Blair et al. posit, the participants in the study are mostly volunteers (62). Therefore, investigators should understand how the weakness may hamper their research before going ahead to implement the technique.
Finally, from the analysis of the various data collection methodologies, it is evident that the internet survey has the highest response bias. The main cause is the presence of challenges associated with the regulation and identification of participants. The respondents in an internet survey may choose either to take part in a study or not. Moreover, there could be inaccuracies in defining a population in an internet survey, hence resulting in bias. The high chances of response biases serve as a significant factor that makes the approach disadvantageous; therefore, surveyors should be aware of this limitation before employing the technique.
Blair, Johnny, Ronald F. Czaja, and Edward A. Blair. Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures. Sage Publications, 2014.
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