Limitations of Questionnaires and Web Experiments



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Web-based questionnaires and experiments are vital methods for analyzing epidemiology and provide important information about public health and diseases. They are a popular method to collect data that is often less expensive and time intensive than face-to-face interviews, mail-in questionnaires or automated telephone menu systems. However questionnaires, surveys and Web tests have some limitations that must be addressed to ensure that they are reliable and valid results.

A questionnaire could be influenced by response bias, which is the tendency of respondents to answer questions according to their own opinions instead of the research objectives. Furthermore, the design of a questionnaire can influence responses in a variety of ways. For instance, question wording may influence the way respondents interpret and understand the question in the same way (reliable) to determine the subject matter you’re interested in (valid), or are able to answer in a timely manner (credible).

A lack of enthusiasm or involvement with the questions may also make respondents less likely to provide honest answers. Lack of incentives or compensation can make it difficult for respondents to fill out a questionnaire.

Online questionnaires can also be difficult for certain research designs, such as studies of reaction time or position. The variation in settings for browsers size, screen sizes, and operating systems makes it difficult to control and measure the same variables across different participants.

Finally, Web-based surveys are only accessible to those who have keyboards and are Internet proficient, which currently excludes a significant proportion of the population. In addition, it’s usually difficult to Web researchers to provide feedback to participants after an experiment’s window closes.


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